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Full text of "The sketch-book of Geoffrey Crayon"

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THE 



SKETCH-BOOK 



GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 



BY 



Washington irving. 



5.« 



^ DEC 2 1385 '^ r 



NEW YORK: 
GE4>RGE MUNRO, PUBLISHER 

IT TO 27' Vandewater Street. 



The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent 



I have no wife nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A 
mere spectator of other men's fortunes and adventures, and how 
the}' play their parts; which, methinks, are diversely presented 
unto me, as from a common theater or scene. — Bueton. 



THE A UTHOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 

J am of this mind with Homer, that as the snaile that crept out of 
her shel was turned eftsoones into a toad, and thereby was forced 
to make a stoole to sit on; so the traveller that stragleth from his 
owne country is in a short time transformed into so monstrous a 
shape, that he is faine to alter his mansion with his manners, and to 
live where he can, not where he would. — Ltly's Euphues. 

I WAS always fond of visiting new scenes, and observ- 
ing strange characters and manners. Even when a mere 
child I began my travels, and made many tours of discovery 
into foreign j)arts and unknown regions of my native city, 
to the frequent alarm of my parents, and the emolument 
of the town crier. As I grew into boyhood, I extended the 
range of my observations. My holiday afternoons were 
spent in rambles about the surromiding country. I made 
myself familiar with all its places famous in history or 
fable. I knew every sj)ot where a murder or robber}^ had 
been committed, or a ghost seen. I visited the neighbor- 
ing villages, and added greatly to my stock of knowledge, 
by noting their habits and customs, conversing wdth their 
savages and great men. I even journeyed one long sum- 
mer's day to the summit of the most distant hill, from 



6 WOKKS OF WASHI^^GTOK IRYHsTG. 

whence I stretched my eye over many a mile of terra in- 
cognita, and was astonished to find how vast a globe I in- 
habited. 

This rambling jDropensity strengthened with my years. 
Books of voyages and travels became my passion^ and in 
devonring their contents, I neglected the regular exercises 
of the school. How wistfully would I wander about the 
pier heads in fine weather, and watch the parting ships, 
bound to distant climes; with what longing eyes would I 
gaze after their lessening sails, and waft myself in imagina- 
tion to the ends of the earth! 

Further reading and thinking, though they brought this 
vague inclination into more reasonable bounds, only served 
to make it more decided. I visited various parts of my own 
country; and had I been merely influenced by a love of fine 
scenery, I should have felt little desire to seek elsewjiere 
its gratification : for on no country had the charms of nat- 
ure been more prodigally lavished. Her mighty lakes, like 
oceans of liquid silver; her mountains, with their bright 
aerial tints; her valleys, teeming with wild fertility; her 
tremendous cataracts, thundering in their solitudes; her 
houndless plains, waving with spontaneous verdure; her 
broad deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the ocean; 
her trackless forests, where vegetation puts forth all its 
magnificence; her skies, kindling with the magic of sum- 
Tiier clouds and glorious sunshine: no, never need an 
American look beyond his own country for the sublime and 
beautiful of natural scenery. 

But Europe held forth all the charms of storied and 
poetical association. There were to be seen the master- 
pieces of art, the refinements of highly cultivated society, 
the quaint peculiarities of ancient and local custom. My 
native country was full of youthful j^romise; Europe was 
rich in the accumulated treasures of age. Her very ruins 
told the history of times gone by, and every molderin^- 
stone was a chronicle. I lons^ed to Avander over the scenes 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYON, GENT. 7 

of renowned acliievement^ to tread, as it were, in the foot- 
.^'ps of antiquity, to loiter about the ruined castle, to medi- 
tate on the falling tower, to escape, in short, from the com- 
monplace reahties of the present, and lose myself among 
the shadowy grandeurs of 'the past. 

I had, besides all this, an earnest desire to see the great 
men of the earth. We have, it is true, our great men in 
America : not a city but has an ample share of them. I 
have mingled among them in my time, and been almost 
withered by the shade into which they cast me; for there ' 
is nothing so baleful to a small man as the shade of a great 
one, particularly the great man of a city. But I was anx- 
ious to see the great men of Europe; for I had read in the 
works of various j)]iilosopliers, that all animals degenerated 
in America, and man among the number. A great man. 
of Europe, thought I, must therefore be as superior to a 
great man of America, as a peak of the Al^^s to a highland of 
the Hudson; and in this idea I was confirmed, by observing 
the comparative importance and swelling magnitude of 
;nany English travelers among us, who, I was assured, were 
very little people in their own country. I will visit /tlA 
land of wonders, thought I, and see the gigantic race f^m 
which I am degenerated. 

It has been either my good or evil lot to have my roving 
passion gratified. I have wandered through different coun- 
tries and witnessed many of the shifting scenes of life. I 
can not say that I have studied them with the eye of a phi- 
losopher, but rather with the same sauntering gaze with 
which humble lovers of the picturesque stroll from the win- 
dow of one print-shop to another; caught sometimes by the 
delineations of beauty, sometimes by the distortions of cari- 
cature, and sometimes by the loveliness of landscape. As ji 
it is the fashion for modern tourists to travel pencil in * 
liand, and bring home their portfolios filled with sketches, • 
I am disposed to get up a few for the entertainment of my 
friends. When, however, I look over the hints and mem- 



8 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

orandums I have taken down for the pnriDOse, my heart 
almost fails me, at finding how my idle himior has led me 
aside from the great object studied by every regular trav- 
eler who would make a book. I fear I shall give equal dis- 
appointment with an unlucky landscajDC-painter;, who had 
traveled on the continent, but following the bent of his 
vagrant inclination, had sketched in nooks, and corners, 
and by-places. His sketch-book was accordingly crowded 
with cottages, and landscapes, and obscure ruins; but he 
had neglected to paint St. Peter^s, or the Coliseum; the 
cascade of Terni, or the bay of Naples; and had not a sin- 
gle glacier or volcano in his whole collection. 



TEE VOYAGE. 

Ships, ships, I will descrie you 

Amidst the main, 
I will come and try you, 
What you are protecting, 
And projecting, 

What's your end and aim. 
One goes abroad for merchandise and trading, 
Another stays to keep his country from invading, 
A third is coming home with rich and wealth}^ lading. 
Hallo! m}^ fancie, whither wilt thou go? 

Old Poem. 

To an American visiting Europe, the long vo^^age he has 
to make is an excellent j)reparative. The tem|)orary ab- 
sence of worldly scenes and emj)loyments produces a state 
of mind peculiarly fitted to receive new and vivid impres- 
sions. The vast space of waters that separates the hemi- 
spheres is like a blank page in existence. There is no 
gradual transition by which, as in Europe, the features and 
population of one country blend almost imj)ercej)tibly with 
those of another. From the moment you lose sight of the 
land you have left, all is vacancy, until you step on the ojd- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GEXT. 9 

230site shore, and are launclied at once into tlie bustle and 
novelties of another world. 

In traveling by land there is a continuity of scene, and 
a connected succession of persons and incidents, that carry 
on the story of life, and lessen the effect of absence and 
separation. We drag, it is true, *' a lengthening chain ^^ 
at each remove of our pilgrimage; but the chain is un- 
broken; we can trace it back link by link; and we feel that 
the last of them still grap|)les us to home. But a wide sea 
voyage severs us at once. It makes us conscious of being 
cast loose from the secure anchorage of settled life, and sent 
adrift u23on a doubtful world. It interposes a gulf, not 
merely imaginary, but real, between us and our homes; a 
gulf, subject to tempest, and fear, and uncertainty, that 
makes distance palpable, andr return precarious. 

Such, at least, was the case with myself. As I saw the 
last blue line of my native land fade away like a cloud in 
the horizon, it seemed as if I had closed one volume of the 
Avorld and its concerns, and had time for meditation, before 
I opened another. That land," too, now vanishing from 
my view, which contained all that was most dear to me in 
life; what vicissitudes might occur in it, what changes 
might take place in me before I should visit it again ! Who 
can tell, when he sets forth to wander, whither he may be 
driven by the uncertain currents of existence; or when he 
may return ; or whether it may be ever his lot to revisit the 
scenes of his childhood? 

I said, that at sea all is vacancy; I should correct the ex- 
pression. To one given to day-dreaming, and fond of los- 
ing himself in reveries, a sea voyage is full of subjects for 
meditation ; but then they are the wonders of the dee]^ and 
of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from world- 
ly themes. I delighted to loll over the quarter-railing or 
climb to the main-top, of a calm day, and muse for hours 
together on the tranquil bosom of a Summers's sea; to gaze 
upon the piles of golden clouds just peering above the hori- 



10 WOEKS OP WASHINGTON IRYING. 

zon; fancy them some fairy realms^ and people them with 
a creation of my own; to watch the gentle miclulating bil- 
lows^ rolling their silyer volumeS;, as if to die away on those 
happy shores. 

There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and 
awe with which I looked down^ from my giddy height^ on 
the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols: shoals 
of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship; the 
grampus^ slowly heaving his huge form above the surface; 
or the ravenous sharks darting^ like a specter^ through the 
blue waters. My imagination would conjure up all that I 
had heard or read of the watery world beneath me : of the 
finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of the shape- 
less monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the 
earthy and of those wild phantasms that swell the tales of 
fishermen and sailors. 

Sometimes a distant sail^ gliding along the edge of the 
ocean^ would be another theme of idle specalation. How 
interesting this fragment of a worlds hastening to rejoin the 
great mass of existence! What a glorious monument of 
human invention^ that has thus triumphed over mind and 
wave; has brought the ends of the world into communion; 
has established an interchange of blessings^ jDOuring into 
the sterile regions of the north all the luxuries of the south; 
has diffused the light of knowledge^ and the charities of 
cultivated life; and has thus bound together those scattered 
portions of the human race, between which nature seemed 
to have thrown an insurmountable barrier. 

We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a 
distance. At sea, everything that breaks the monotony of 
the surrounding expanse attracts attention. It proved to 
be the mast of a ship that must have been completely 
wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by 
which some of the crew had fastened themselves to this 
spar, to prevent their being washed off by the waves. 
There was no trace by which the ]iame of the ship could 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 11 

be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about for 
many months; chisters of shell-fish had fastened about it, 
and long- sea- weeds flaunted at its sides. But where, 
thought I, is the crew? Their struggle has long been over, 
they have gone down amidst the roar of the tempest, their 
bones he whitening among the caverns of the deep. 
Silence, oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, 
and no one can tell the story of their end. What sighs 
have been wafted after that ship; what prayers offered up 
at the deserted fireside of home ! How often has the mis- 
tress, the wife, the mother, pored over the daily news, to 
catch some casual intelligence of this rover of the deep! 
How has expectation darkened into anxiety, anxiety into 
dread, and dread into despair! Alas! not one memento 
shall ever return for love to cherish. All that shall ever 
be known, is that she sailed from her port, '' and was never 
heard of more!^^ 

The sight of this wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dis- 
mal anecdotes. This was 2)articularly the case in the even- 
ing, when the weather, which had hitherto been fair, began 
to look wild and threatening, and gave indications of one 
of those sudden storms that will sometimes break in upon 
the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round the 
dull light of a lamp, in the cabin, that made the gloom 
more ghastly, every one had his tale of shipwreck and dis- 
aster. I was particularly struck with a short one related 
by the captain : 

" As I was once sailing, ^^ said he, " in a fine, stout ship^ 
across the banks of Newfoundland, one of those heavy fogs 
that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for us to 
see far ahead, even in the day-time; but at night the weather 
was so thick that we could not distinguish any object at 
twice the length of the ship. I kept lights at the mast- 
head, and a constant watch forward to look out for fishing- 
smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the 
banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and we 



12 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

were going at a great rate through the water. Suddenly 
the watch gave the alarm of ^ a sail ahead !' it was scarcely 
uttered before we were upon her. She was a small schooner^ 
at anchor^ with a broadsitle toward us. The crew were all 
asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We struck her 
just amidships. The force^ the size^ the weight of our ves- 
sel^ bore her down below the waves; we passed over her 
and were hurried on our course. As the crashing wreck 
was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two or three 
half -naked wretches^, rushing from her cabin; they just 
started from their beds to be swallowed shrieking by the 
waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the 
wind. The blast that bore it to our ears, swe|)t us out of 
all further hearing. I shall never forget that cry! It was 
some time before we could put the ship about, she was 
under such headway. We returned, as nearly as we could 
guess, to the place where the smack had anchored. We 
cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired 
signal-guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo of 
any survivors; but all was silent; we never saw or heard 
anything of them more. " 

I confess these stories, for a tinae, put an end to all my 
fine fancies. The storm increased with the night. The 
sea was lashed into tremendous confusion. There vfas a 
fearful, sullen sound of rushing waves and broken surges. 
Dee]^ called unto deep. At times the black volume of 
clouds overhead seemed rent asunder by flashes of lightning 
that quivered along the f oahiing billows, and made the 
succeeding darkness doubly terrible. The thunders bel- 
lowed over the wild waste of waters, and were echoed and 
prolonged by the mountam waves. As I saw the ship stag- 
gering and plunging among these roaring caverns, it 
seemed miraculous that she regained her balance, or pre- 
served her buoyancy. Her yards would dip into the water; 
her bow was almost buried beneath the waves. Sometimes 
an impending surge appeared ready to overwhelm her, and 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFPREY CRAYON", GENT. 13 

nothing but a dexterous movement of the helm preserved 
her from the shock. 

When I retired to my cabin, the awful scene still followed 
me. The whistling of the wind ^irough the rigging sound- 
ed like funereal wailings. The creaking of the masts; the 
straining and groaning of bulk-heads, as the ship labored 
in the weltering sea, were frightful. As I heard the waves 
rushing along the side of the ship, and roaring in my very 
ear, it seemed as if Death were raging round this floating 
prison, seeking for his prey: the mere starting of a nail, 
the yawning of a seam, might give him entrance. 

A fine day, however, w^ith a tranquil sea and favoring 
breeze, soon put all these dismal reflections to flight. It is 
impossible to I'esist the gladdening influence of fine weather 
and fair wind at sea. When the ship is decjied out in all 
her canvas, every sail swelled, and careering gayly over the 
curling waves, how lofty, how gallant, she appears, how 
she seems to lord it over the deep ! I might fill a volume 
with the reveries of a sea voyage; for with me it is almost 
a continual reverie; but it is time to get to shore. 

It Avas a fine suimy morning when the thrilling cry of 
'* land!" was given from the mast-head. N"one but those 
who have experienced it can form an idea of the delicious 
throng of sensations which rush into an Americanos bosom 
when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a vol- 
ume of associations with the very name. It is the land of 
promise, teeming with everything of which his childhood 
has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered. 

From that time, until the moment of arrival, it was all 
feverish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like 
guardian giants along the coast; the headlands of Ireland, 
stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains tow- 
ering into the clouds! all were objects of intense interest. 
As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitered the shores with 
a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, 
with their trim shrubberies and green grass-plots. I saw 



14 WORKS ^ OF WASHlNGTOiT IRVING. 

the moldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the 
taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a 
neighboring hill; all were characteristic of England. 

The tide and wind were so favorable^ that the ship was 
enabled to come at once to the pier. It was thronged with 
people: Some idle lookers-on^ others eager expectants of 
friends or relations. I could distinguish the merchant to 
whom the ship was consigned. I knew him by his calcu- 
lating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust into 
his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking 
to and fro, a small space having been accorded him by the 
crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There 
were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged be- 
tween the shore and the ship, as friends happened to recog- 
nize each other. I particularly noticed one young woman 
of humble dress, but interesting demeanor. She was lean- 
ing forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over 
the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wished-for 
countenance. She seemed disappointed and agitated, when 
I heard a faint voice call her name. It was from a poor 
sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the 
sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was 
fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in 
the shade, but of late his illness had so increased that he 
had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that 
he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped 
on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning 
against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, so pale, 
so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of affection 
did not recognize him. But at the sound of his voice, her 
eye darted on his features : it read, at once, a whole volume 
of sorrow; she clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, 
and stood wringing them in silent agony. 

All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of ac- 
quaintances; the greetings of friends; the consultations of 
men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFEEEY CRAYON", GENT. 15 

friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped u^^on the 
land of my forefathers, but felt that I was a stranger in 
the land. 



ROSCOE. 

In the service of mankind to be 

A guardian god below; still to employ 
The mind's brave ardor in heroic aims, 
Such as may raise us o'er the groveling herd, 
And make us shine forever— that is life. 

Thomson. 

One of the first places to which a stranger is taken in 
Liverpool, is the Athen^um. It is established on a liberal 
and judicious plan; it contains a good library, and spacious 
reading-room, and is the great literary resort of the place. 
Go there at what hour you may, you are sure to find it filled 
with grave-looking personages, deeply absorbed in the study 
of newspapers. 

, As I was once visiting this haunt of the learned, my at- 
tention was attracted to a person just entering the room. 

He was advanced in life, tall, and of a form that might 
once have been commanding, but it was a little bowed by 
time, perhaps by care. He had a noble Roman style of 
countenance; a liead that would have pleased a painter; 
and though some slight furrows on his brow showed that 
wasting thought had been busy there, yet his eye still 
beamed with the fire of a poetic soul. There was some- 
thing in his whole appearance that indicated a being of a 
different order from the bustling race around him. ,. 

I inquired his name, and was informed that it was Eos- 
COE. I drew back with an involuntary feeling of venera- 
tion. This, then, was an author of celebrity; this was one 
of those men whose voices have gone forth to the ends of 
the earth; witli whose minds I have communed even in the 
solitudes of America. Accustomed^ as we are in our comi- 



16 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRYING. 

try, to know European writers only by their works, we can 
not conceive of them, as of other men, engrossed by trial 
or sordid pursuits, and jostling with the crowd of common 
minds in the dusty paths of life. They pass before our im- 
aginations hke superior beings, radiant with the emana- 
tions of their own genius, and surrounded by a halo of 
literary glory. 

To find, therefore, the elegant historian of the Medici 
mingling among the busy sons of traffic, at first shocked 
my poetical ideas; but it is from the very circumstances 
and situation in which he has been placed, that Mr. Eoscoe 
derives his highest claims to admiration. It is interesting 
to notice how some minds seem almost to create them- 
selves; springing up under every disadvantage, and work- 
ing their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand 
obstacles. [N'ature seems to delight in disappointing the 
assiduities of art, with which it would rear legitimate dull- 
ness to maturity; and to glory in the vigor and luxuriance 
of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of genius 
to the winds, and though some may perish among the 
stony places of the world, and some be choked by the 
thorns and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now 
and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, strug- 
gle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile 
birthplace all the beauties of vegetation. 

Such has been the case with Mr. Eoscoe. Born in a. 
place apparently im genial to the growth of literary talent: 
in the very market-place of trade; without fortune, family 
connections, or patronage; self-j)rompted, self -sustained, 
and almost self-taught, he has conquered every obstacle, 
achieved his way to eminence, and having become one of 
the ornaments of the nation, has turned the whole force of 
his talents and influence to advance and embellish his 
native town. 

Indeed, it is this last trait in his character which has 
given him the greatest interest in my eyes, and induced me 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CIIAYOK, GENT. 17 

particularly to point liim out to my countrymen. Eminent 
as are his literary merits^ he is but one among the many 
distinguished authors of this intellectual nation. They, 
however, in general, live but for their own fame, or their 
own pleasures. Their private history presents no lesson to 
the world, or, perhaps, a humiliating one of human frailty 
and inconsistency. At best, they are prone to steal away 
from the bustle and common^jlace of busy existence; to in- 
dulge in the selfishness of lettered ease; and to revel in 
scenes of mental, but exclusive enjoyment. 

Mr. Roscoe, on the contrary, has claimed none of the ac- 
corded privileges of talent. He has shut himself ujd in no 
garden of thought, nor elysium of fancy; but has gone forth, 
into the highways and thoroughfares of life, he has planted 
bowers by the way-side, for the refreshment of the jDilgrim 
and the sojourner, and has ojDcned pure fountains, where 
the laboring man may turn aside from the dust and heat 
of the day, and drink of the living streams of knowledge. 
There is a '' daily beauty in his life,^^ on which mankind 
may meditate, and grow better. It exhibits no lofty and 
almost useless, because inimitable, example of excellence; 
but presents a picture of active, yet simple and inimitable 
virtues, which are within every man's reach, but which, 
unfortunately, are not exercised by many, or this world 
would be a paradise. 

But his i^rivate life is peculiarly worthy the attention of 
the citizens of our young and busy country, where literature 
and the elegant arts must grow up side by side with the 
coarser plants of daily necessity; and must depend for their 
culture, not on the exclusive devotion of time and wealth, 
nor the quickening rays of titled patronage; but on hours 
and seasons snatched from the pursuit of worldly interests, 
by intelligent and public-spirited individuals. 

He has shown how much may be done for a place in 
hours of leisure by one master spirit, and how comj)letely 
it can give its own impress to surrounding objects. Like 



18 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOK IflVIi^G. 

liis own Lorenzo De Medici^ on whom lie seems to have 
fixed his eye, as on a 23nre model of antiquity, he has inter- 
woven the history of his life with the history of his native 
town, and has made the foundations of its fame the monu- 
ments of his virtues. Wherever you go, in Liverpool, you ^ 
percei\^e traces of his footsteps in all that is elegant and 
liberal. He found the tide of wealth flowing merely in the 
channels of traffic; he has diverted from it invigorating 
rills to refresh the gardens of literature. By his own ex- 
ample and constant exertions, he has effected that union of 
commerce and the intellectual pursuits, so eloquently recom- 
mended in one of his latest writings;"^ and has practically 
proved how beautifully they may be brought to harmonize, 
and to benefit each other. The noble institutions for liter- ^ 
ary and scientific purposes, which reflect such credit on 
Liverpool, and are giving such an impulse to the public 
mind, have mostly been originated, and have all been effect- 
ively jDromoted, by Mr. Roscoe; and when we consider the 
rapidly increasing opulence and magnitude of that town, 
which promises to vie in commercial importance with the 
metropolis, it will be perceived that in awakening an am- 
bition of mental improvement among its inhabitants, he 
has effected a great benefit to the cause of British literature. 
Li America, we know Mr. Eoscoe only as the author; in 
Liverpool, he is spoken of as the banker; and I was told of 
his having been unfortunate in business. I could not pity 
him, as I heard some rich men do. I considered him far 
above the reach of my pity. Those who live only for the 
world, and in the world, may be cast down by the frowns 
of adversity; but a man like Roscoe is not to be overcome , 
by the reverses of fortune. They do but drive him in upon 
the. resources of his own mind; to the superior society of 
his own thoughts; which the best of men are apt sometimes 
to neglect, and to roam abroad in search of less worthy as- v 

* Address on the opening- of the Liverpoollnstitution. 



SKETO«--BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 19 

sociates. He is independent of the world around him. He 
lives with antiquity, and with posterity : with antiquity, in 
the sweet communion of studious retirement; and with pos- 
terity, in the generous aspirings after future renown. The 
solitude of such a mind is its state of highest enjoyment. 
It is then visited by those elevated meditations which are 
the proper aliment of noble souls, and are, like manna, sent 
from heaven, in the wilderness of this world. 

While my feelings were yet alive on the subject, it was 
my fortune to light on further traces of Mr. Eoscoe. I 
was riding out with a gentleman, to view the environs of 
Liverpool, when he turned oif, through a gate, into some 
ornamented grounds. After riding a short distance, we 
came to a spacious mansion of freestone, built in the Gre- 
cian style. It was not in the purest taste, yet it had an 
air of elegance, and the situation was delightful. A fine 
lawn sloped away from it, studded with clumps of trees, so 
disposed as to break a soft fertile country into a variety of 
landscapes. The Mersey was seen winding a broad quiet 
sheet of water through an expanse of green meadow land; 
while the Welsh mountains, blending with clouds, and 
melting into distance, bordered the horizon. 

This was Roscoe^s favorite residence during the days of 
his prosperity. It had been the seat of elegant hosjDitality 
and literary refinement. The house was now silent and 
deserted. I saw the windows of the study, which looked 
out upon the soft scenery I have mentioned. The windows 
were closed, the library was gone. Two or three ill-favored 
beings were loitering about the place^ whom my fancy pict- 
ured into retainers of the law. It was like visiting some 
classic fountain that had once welled its pure waters in a 
sacred shade, but finding it dry and dusty, with the lizard 
and the toad brooding over the shattered marbles. 

I inquired after the fate of Mr. Eoscoe^ s library, which 
had consisted of scarce and foreign books, from many of 
which he had drawn the materials for his Italian histories. 



20 WORKS OF WASHIis^GTON IRVING. 

It had passed under the hammer of the auctioneer^ and was 
dispersed about the country. 

The good people of the vicinity thronged like wreckers 
to get some part of the noble vessel that had been driven 
on shore. Did such a scene admit of ludicrous associations, 
we might imagine something whimsical in this strange 
irruption into the regions of learning. Pigmies rummag- 
ing the armory of a giant, and contending for the posses- 
sion of weapons which they could not wield. We might 
picture to ourselves some knot of speculators, debating 
with calculating brow over the quaint binding and illumi- 
nated margin of an obsolete author; or the air of intense, 
but baffled sagacity, with which some successful purchaser at- 
tempted to dive into the black-letter bargain he had secured. 

It is a beautiful incident in the story of Mr. Roscoe^s 
misfortunes, and one which can not fail to interest the 
studious mind, that the parting with his books seems to 
have touched u]3on his tenderest feelings, and to have been 
the only circumstance that could provoke the notice of his 
muse. The scholar only knows how dear these silent, yet 
eloquent, companions of pure thoughts and innocent hours 
become in the season of adversity. When all that is worldly 
tm-ns to drOss around us, these only retain their steady 
value. When friends grow cold, and the Converse of in- 
timates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, 
these only continue the unaltered countenance of haj)pier 
days, and cheer us with that true friendship which never 
deceived; hope, nor deserted sorrow. 

I do not wish to censure; but, surely, if the peojDle of 
Liverpool had been properly sensible of what was due to 
Mr. Roscoe and to themselves, his library would never have 
been sold. Good worldly reasons may, doubtless, be given 
for the circumstance, which it would be difl&cult to combat 
with others that might seem merely fanciful; but it cer- 
tainly appears to me such an opportunity as seldom occurs, 
of cheering a noble mind struggling under misfortunes by 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 21 

one of the most delicate, but most expressive tokens of jHib- 
lic sympathy. It is difficult, however, to estimate a man 
of genius jDroperly who is daily before our eyes. He be- 
comes mingled and confounded with other men. His great 
qualities lose their novelty, and we become too familiar 
with the common materials which form the basis even of 
the loftiest character. Some of Mr. Eoscoe^s townsmen 
may regard him merely as a man of business; others as a 
politician; all find him engaged like themselves in ordinary 
occupations, and surpassed, perhaps, by themselves on some 
points of worldly wisdom. Even that amiable and unosten- 
tatious simplicity of character, which gives the nameless 
grace to real excellence, may cause him to be undervalued 
by some coarse minds, who do not know that true worth is 
always void of glare and jDi'etension. But the man of let- 
ters who speaks of Liverpool, speaks of it as the residence 
of Eoscoe. The intelligent traveler who visits it, inquires 
where Eoscoe is to be seen. He is the literary landmark of 
the place, indicating its existence to the distant scholar. 
He is like Pompey^s column at Alexandria, towering alone 
in classic dignity. 

The following sonnet, addressed by Mr. Eoscoe to his 
books, on parting with them, is alluded to in the preceding 
article. If anything can add effect to the pure feeling and 
elevated thought here displayed, it is the conviction, that 
the whole is no effusion of fancy, but a faithful transcript 
from the writer^ s heart: 

TO MY BOOKS. 

As one, who, destined from his friends to part, 
Eegrets his loss, but hopes again erewhile 
To share their converse, and enjoy their smile, 

And tempers, as he may, affection's dart; 

Thus, loved associates, chiefs of elder art. 

Teachers of wisdom, who could once beguile . 
My tedious hours, and lighten every toil, 

I now resign you; nor with fainting heart; 



22 WOEKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

For pass a few short years, or days, or hours, 
And happier seasons may their dawn unfold,. 
And all your sacred fellowship restore; 
When freed from earth, unlimited its powers. 

Mind shall with mind direct communion hold, 
And kindred spirits meet to part no more. , 



TBB WIFE. 

The treasures of the deep are not so precious 
As are the concealed comforts of a man 
Lock'd up in woman's love. I scent the air 
Of blessings, when I come but near the house. 
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth— 
The violet bed's not sweeter! 

MlDDLETON. 

I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude with 
which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of 
fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of a 
man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all 
the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and 
elevation to their character, that at times it approaches to 
sublimity. ISTothing can be more touching than to behold 
a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and 
dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, while 
threading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in 
mental force to be the comforter and supjDorter of her hus- 
band under misfortune, and abiding, with unshrinking 
firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity. 

As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage 
about the oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, 
when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunder-bolt, cling 
round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shat- 
tered boiighs; so it is beautifully ordered by Providence, 
that woman, who is the mere dependent and ornament of 
man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFllICY CUAY02T, GENT. 23 

wlicii smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into 
the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the 
drooping head, and binding up the broken heart. 

I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him 
a blooming family, knit together in the strongest affection. 

I can wish you no better lot,^' said he, Avith enthusiasm, 

than to have a wife and children. If you are prosper- 
ous, there they are to share your prosperity; if otherwise, 
there they are to comfort you.'^ And, indeed, I have ob- 
served that a married man falling into misfortune, is more 
apt to retrieve his situation in the world than a single one; 
partty, because he is more stimulated to exertion by the 
necessities of the helpless and beloved beings who depend 
upon him for subsistence; but chie%, because his spirits 
are soothed and relieved by domestic endearments, and his 
self-respect kept alive by finding, that though all abroad is 
darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little world of 
love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas, a 
single man is apt to run to waste and self -neglect; to fancy 
himself lonely and abandoned, and his heart to fall to ruin, 
like some deserted mansion, for want of an inhabitant. 

These observations call to mind a little domestic story, 
of which I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, 
had married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who had 
been brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She had, 
it is true, no fortune, but that of my friend was ample; 
and he delighted in the anticipation of indulging her in 
every elegant pursuit, and administering to those delicate 
tastes and fancies that spread a kind of witchery about the 
sex. " Her life,^^ said he, "^ shall be like a fairy tale.^' 

The very difference in their characters produced a har- 
monious combination ; he was of a romantic, and somewhat 
serious cast; she was all life and gladness. I have often 
noticed the mute rapture with which he would gaze upon 
her in company, of which her sprightly powers made her 
the delight; and how, in the midst of applause, her eyes 



24 WORKS or WASHINGTOiT IRYIKG. 

would still turn to liim, as if there alone she sought favor 
and acceptance. When leaning on his arm, her slender 
form contrasted finely with his tall, manly person. The 
fond confiding air y/ith which she looked up to him seemed 
to call forth a flush of triumphant pride and cherishing ten- 
derness, as if he doated on his lovely burden for its very 
hel|)lessness. Never did a couple set forward on the flowery 
path of early and well-suited marriage with a fairer prosr^ 
pect of felicity. 

It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have 
embarked his property in large sjDeculations; and he had 
not been married many months, when, by a succession of 
sudden disasters it was swept from him, and he found him- 
self reduced to almost penury. For a time he kept his 
situation to himself, and went about with a haggard coun- 
tenp.nce, and a breaking heart. His life was but a 23ro- 
tracted agony; and what rendered it more insupioortable 
was the necessity of keeping up a smile in the presence of 
his wife; for he could not bring himself to overwhelm her 
with the news. She saw, howeyerj with the quick eyes of 
aiiection, that all was not well with him. She marked his 
altered looks and stifled sighs, and was not to be deceived 
by his sickly and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She 
tasked all her sprightly powers and tender blandishments 
to win him back to happhiess; but she only drove the arrow 
deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause to love her,, 
the more torturing was the thought that he was soon to 
make her wretched. A little while, thought he, and the 
smile will vanish from that cheek, the song will die away 
from those lips, the luster of those eyes will be quenched 
with sorrow, and the hajopy heart which now beats lightly 
in that bosom, will be weighed down, like mine, by the 
cares and miseries of the world. 

At length he came to me one day, and related his whole 
situation in a tone of the deepest despair. When I had 
heard him through, I inquired, '' Does your wife know ail 



SKETCH-BOOK OF CtEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 25 

this?'"'' At the question he burst mto an agony of tears. 
^** For God^s sake!'^ cried he, ''if you have any pity on 
me^ don't mention my wife; it is the thought of her that 
drives me almost to madness !'' 

'' And why not?'' said I. ''She must know it sooner 
or later: you can not keep it long from her, and the hitel- 
ligence may break upon her in a more startling manner 
than if imparted by yourself; for the accents of those we 
love soften the harshest tidings. Besides, you are dej^riv- 
ing yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not 
merely that, but also endangering the only bond that can 
keep hearts together : an unreserved community of thought 
and feehng. She will soon perceive that something is se- 
cretly preying upon your mind; and true love will not 
brook reserve: it feels undervalued and outraged, when 
even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it. " 

" Oh, but my friend I to think what a blow I am to give 
to all her future prospects, how I am to strike her very soul 
to the earth, by telhng her that her husband is a beggar! 
that she is to forego all the elegancies of life, all the pleas- 
ures of society, to shrink with me into indigence and ob- 
scurity I To tell her that I have dragged her down from 
the sphere in which she might have continued to move in 
constant brightness, the light of every eye, the admiration 
of every heart ! How can she bear poverty? She has been 
brought up in all the, refinements of opulence. How can 
she bear neglect? She has been the idol of society. Oh, 
it will break her heart, it will break her heart!" 

I saw his grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow; 
for sorroAV relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm 
had ^-subsided, and he had relapsed into moody silence, I 
resumed the subject gently, and urged him to break his 
situation at once to his wife. He shook his head mourn- 
fully, but positively. 

'' But how are you to keep it from her? It is necessary 
she should know it, that you may take the steps proper to 



26 WORKS or WASHIKOTON" IRVIITG. 

the alteration of yonr circumstances. You must change 
your style of living; nay/' obserying a pang to pass across 
his countenance, " donH let that afflict you. I am sure 
you have never placed your happiness in outward show, you 
have yet friends, warm friends, who will not think the 
worse of you for being less splendidly lodged : and surely it; 
does not require a palace to be happy with Mary — " " I; 
could be happy with her,'' cried he, convulsively, in a 
hovel! I could go down with her into poverty and the, 
dust! I could, I could — God bless her! God bless her!" 
cried he, bursting into a transport of grief and tender- 
ness. 

" And believe me, my friend," said I, stepping ujd, and 
grasping him warmly by the hand, " believe me, she can 
be the same with you. Ay, more : it will be a source of 
pride and triumph to her, it will call forth all the latent 
energies and fervent sympathies of her nature; for she will 
rejoice to prove that she loves you for yourself. There is 
in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which 
lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which 
kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of ad- 
versity. ]^fo man knows what the wife of his bosom is, no 
man knows what a ministering angel she is, until he has. 
gone with her through the fiery trials of this world." 

There was something in the earnestness of my manner, ; 
and the figurative style of my language, that caught the 
excited imagination of Leslie. I knew the auditor I had to ' 
deal with; and following up the impression I had made, I 
finished by persuading him to go home and unburden his 
sad heart to his wife. 

I must confess, notwithstanding all I had said, I felt 
some little solicitude for the result. Who can calculate on 
the fortitude of one whose whole life has been a round of 
pleasures? Her gay spirits might revolt at the dark, down- 
ward path of low humility, suddenly pointed out before her, 
and might cling to the sunny regioiis in which they had 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 27 

hithertQ^ reveled. Besides, ruin in fashionable life is ac- 
companied by so many galling mortifications, to which, in 
other ranks, it is a stranger. In short, I could not meet 
Leslie, the next morning, without trepidation. He had 
made the disclosure. 

" And how did she bear it?'^ 

' ' Like an angel ! It seemed rather to be a relief to her 
mind, for she threw her arms round my neck, and asked if 
this was all that had lately made me unhappy. But, poor 
girl," added he, " she can not realize the change we must 
undergo. She has no idea of poverty but in the abstract: 
she has only read of it in poetry, where it is aUied to love. 
She feels as yet no privation : she suffers no loss of accus- 
tomed conveniences nor elegancies. When we come prac- 
tically to experience its sordid cares, its jjaltry wants, its 
petty humiliations, then will be the real trial. " 

^' But," said I, '' now that you have got over the sever- 
est task, that of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the 
world into the secret the better. The disclosure may be 
mortifying; but then it is a single misery, and soon over; 
whereas you otherwise suffer it, in anticipation, every hour 
of the day. It is not poverty, so much as pretense, that 
harasses a ruined man : the struggle between a proud mind 
and an empty purse, the keeping uj? a hollow show that 
must soon come to an end. Have the courage to appear 
poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting."' On 
this point I found Leslie perfectly prepared. He had no 
false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was only anxious 
to conform to their altered fortunes. 

Some days afterward, he called upon me in the evening. 
He had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small 
cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had 
been busied all day in sending out furniture. The new 
establishment required few articles, and those of the sim- 
plest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late residence 
had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said. 



28 WORKS OP WASHINGTON IRVING. 

was too closel}^ associated with the idea of herself; it be- 
longed to the little story of their loves; for some of the 
sweetest moments of their courtship were those when he 
had leaned over that histrument^ and listened to the melt- 
ing tones of her voice. I could not but smile at this in- 
stance of romantic gallantry in a doating husband. 

He was now going out to the cottage-, where his wife had 
been all day, superintending its arrangement. My feelings 
had become strongly interested in the progress of his family 
story, and as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany 
him. 

He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we 
walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing. 

'' Poor Mary!^^ at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from 
his lips. 

" And what of lier,^^ asked I, '^ has anythhig happened 
to her^^ 

" What,''^ said he, darting an impatient glance, '' is it 
nothing to be reduced to this j)altry situation, to be caged 
in a miserable cottage, to be obliged to toil almost in the 
menial concerns of her wretched habitation ?^^ 

"' Has she then repined at the change?" 

' ^ Eepined ! she has been nothing but sweetness and good 
humor. Indeed, she seems in better sjDirits than I have 
ever known her; she has been to me all love, and tender- 
ness, and comfort!''^ 

"Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself 
poor, my friend; you never were so rich, you never knew 
the boundless treasures of excellence you 230ssessed in that 
woman." 

" Oh ! but my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage 
were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this 
is her first day of real experience : she has been introduced 
into an humble dwelling; she has been employed all day in 
a^rranging its miserable equijDments; she has for the first 
time known the fatigues of domestic employment; she has 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFPKEY CRAYON, GENT. 29 

for the first time looked around her on a home destitute of 
everything elegant, almost of everything convenient; and 
may now be sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brood- 
ing over, a prospect of future poverty/" 

There was a degree of probability in this picture that I 
could not gainsay, so we walked on in silence. 

After turning from the main road, uj) a narrow lane, so 
thickly shaded by forest trees as to give it a complete air of 
seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble 
enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; and 
yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun 
one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their 
branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots of 
flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass- 
plot in front. A small wicket-gate opened upon a foot^^ath 
that wound through some shrubbery to flie door. Just as 
we ap23roached, we heard the sound of music. Leslie 
grasped my arm; we paused and listened. It was Mary" s 
voice, singing, in a stjde of the most touching simjilicity, a 
little air of which her husband was j)eculiarly fond. 

I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped 
forward, to hear more distinctly. His stej) made a noise 
on the gravel-walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out 
it the window, and vanished, a light footstep was heard, 
and Mary came tripping forth to meet us. She was in a 
pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were twisted 
in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole 
countenance beamed with smiles, I had never seen her look 
so lovely. 

*' My clear George,"" cried she, " 1 am so glad j^ou are 
come; I have been watching and watching for you; and 
running down the lane, and looking out for you. I"ve set 
out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage ; and 
I"ve been gathering some of the most delicious strawberries, 
for I know you are fond of them, and we have such excel- 
lent cream, and everything is so sweet and still here. ■ Oh!"^ 



30 WORKS OF WASHliTGTOiq" IRYIKG. 

said slie^ putting her arm within his^ and looking up bright- 
ly in his f ace^ '' Oh, we shall be so happy I^"* 

Poor Leslie was oyercome. He caught her to his bosom, 
he folded his arms round her, he kissed her again and again; 
he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes; and 
he has often assured me, that though the world has since 
gone prosperously with him, and his life has indeed been a 
hapi^y one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more 
exquisite felicity. 



[The following Tale was found among the papers of the 
late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New 
York, who was very curious in the Dutch History of the 
province, and the manners of the descendants from its 
primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did 
not lie so much among books as among men; for the former 
are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics; whereas he 
found the old burghers, and still more, their wives, rich in 
that legendary lore, so invaluable to true history. When- 
ever, therefore, he happened uj)on a genuine Dutch family, 
snugly shut up in its low-roofed farm-house, under a spread- 
ing sycamore, he looked upon it as a little clasioed volume 
of black-letter, and studied it with the zeal of a bookworm. 

The result of all these researches was a history of the 
province, during the reign of the Dutch governors, which 
he published some years since. There have been various 
opinions as to the literary character of his work, and, to 
tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be. Its 
chief merit is its scrupulous accuracy, which, indeed, was 
a little questioned, on its first appearance, but has since 
been completely established; and it is now admitted into 
all historical collections, as a book of unquestionable author- 
ity. 

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of 
his work, and now, that he is dead and gone, it can not do 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 31 

much harm to his memory, to say that his time might 
hcive been much better emjiloyed in weightier hibors. He, 
however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way; and though 
it did now and then kick up the dust a httle in the eyes of 
his neighbors, and grieve the spirit of some friends for 
whom he felt the truest deference and affection, yet his 
errors and foUies are remembered " more in sorrow than 
in anger,^^* and it begins to be susijectcd, that he never 
intended to injure or offend. But however his memory 
may be appreciated by critics, it is still held dear among 
many folk, whose good oj^inion is w^ell worth having; par- 
ticularly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as 
to imprint his likeness on their New Year cakes, and have 
thus given him a chance for immortality, almost equal to 
the being stamped on a Waterloo medal, or a Queen Anne's 
farthing. ] 



EIF VAN WINKLE, 

A POSTHUMOUS WRITING OF DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER. 

B}' Woden, God of Saxons, 

From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday, 

Truth is a thing that ever I will keep 

Unto thylke day in which I creep into 

My sepulcher — 

Cartwright. 

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson, must re- 
member the Kaatskill Mountains. They are a dismem- 
bered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen 
away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, 
and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change 
of season, every change of weather, indeed every hour of 

"■•Vide the excellent discourse of G. C. Verplack, Esq., before 
the New York Historical Society. 



32 WORKS OF WASHIN-GTON- IRYIljq-G. 

the day produces some cliange in the magical hues aud 
sha]3es of these mountains; and they are regarded by all 
the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When 
the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in bine and 
purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening 
sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloud- 
less, they will gather a hood of gray vajoors about their 
summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will 
glow and light iiip like a crown of glory. 

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager must 
have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, 
wdiose shingle roofs gleam among the trees, just where the 
blue tints of the uj^land melt away into the fresh green of 
the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great an- 
tiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colon- 
ists, in the early times of the province, just about the be- 
ginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant 
{may he rest hi peace !) and there were some of the houses 
of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of 
small yellow bricks, brought from Holland, having latticed 
windovv's and gable fronts, surmounted with weathercocks. 

In that same village, and in one of these very houses 
(which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and 
weather-beaten), there lived many years since, while the 
Gomitry was yet a ]Drovince of Great Britain, a simple, 
good-natured fellow, of the name of bip Van Winkle. He 
was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gal- 
lantly ill the chivalrous days of Peter Stu3rvcsant, and ac- 
companied him to the siege of Fort Cristina. He inherited, 
however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. 
I have observed that he v/as a simple good-natured niari; 
he v/as moreover a kind neighbor, and an obedient hen- 
pecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance mightl 
be owing that meekness of sjoirit wdiich gained him such 
universal poj^ularity; for those men are most apt ■ ■ • '~^- '"^l)- 
sequious and conciliating abroad, who are undci' '.- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFPRKY CRAYON, GENT. 33 

pline of shrews at homei Their tempers, douhtless, are 
rendered phant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domes- 
tic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the ser- 
mons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and 
long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some 
respects, be considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Eip 
Yan Winkle was thrice blessed. 

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the 
good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable 
sex, took his j)art in all family squabbles, and never failed, 
whenever they talked those matters over in their evening 
gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. 
The children of the village, too, would shout with joy when- 
ever he ap23roached. He assisted at their sports, made 
their jDlaythings, taught them to fly kites and shoot mar- 
bles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and In- 
dians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he 
was surrounded by a troop of them hanging on his skirts, 
clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on 
him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him 
throughout the neighborhood. 

^ The great error in Eip's composition was an insuperable 
aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. /' It could not be 
from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would 
sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tar- 
tar's lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though 
he should not be encouraged by a single nibble. He would 
carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder, for hours together, 
trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and down 
dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He would 
never refuse to assist a neighbor even in the roughest toil, 
and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking 
Indian corn, or building stone fences. The women of the 
village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and 
to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands 
„. ,,1.1 ,. . ,|q f^y them; in a word. Rip was ready to attend 



34 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

to anybody^ s business but his own; but as to doing family 
duty^ and keeping liis farm in order^ be found it impossi- 
bief 

In fact^ he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; 
it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole 
country; everything about it went wrongs and would go 
wrong in spite of him. His fences were continually falling 
to pieces; his cow would either go astray^ or get among the 
cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields that 
anywhere else; the rain always made a point of setting in 
just as he had some out-door work to do; so that though 
his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under his man- 
agement^ acre by acre,, until there was httle more left than 
a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes^ yet it was the 
worst conditioned farm in the neighborhood. 

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they be- 
longed to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his 
oivn likeness, promised to inherit the habits, with the old 
clothes of his father. He was generally seen trooping like 
a colt at his mother'' s heels, equip23ed in a j^air of his 
father's cast-ot! galligaskins, which he had much ado to 
hold up with one hand, as a fine lady does her train in bad 
weather. 

Rip Van Winkle, howeyer, was one of those hapj^y mor- 
tals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world 
easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with 
least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a 
penny than work for a pound. If left to himself, he would 
have whistled away, in perfect contentment; but his wife 
kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, hit 
carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. 

Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly 
going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a 
torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of 
replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent 
use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAY02S'", GENT. 35 

sliook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, 
liowever, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife, so 
that he was fain to draw oif his forces and take to the out- 
side of the house; the only side which, in truth, belongs to 
a hen-pecked husband. 

Kip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was 
as much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle 
regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked 
upon Wolf with an evil^eye, as the cause of his master's 
going so often astray. True it is, in all 23oints of spirit be- 
fitting an honorable dog, he was as courageous an animal 
as ever scoured the w^oods; but w^hat courage can withstand 
the ever-enduring and all-besetting terrors of a woman's 
tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house, his crest 
fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between his 
legs; he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a 
sidelong glance at Dame Yan Winkle, and at the least flour- 
ish of a broomstick' or ladle, he would fly to the door with 
yelping precipitation. 

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle, as 
years of matrimony rolled on : a tart temper never mellows 
with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edge tool that 
grows keener with constant use. For a long while he used 
to console himself, when driven from home, by frequenting 
a kind of perpetual club of the sages, philosophers, and 
other idle personages of the village, which held its sessions 
pn a bench before a small inn, designated by a rubicund 
portrait of his majesty George the Third. Here they used 
to sit in the shade of a long lazy summer's day, talking list- 
lessly over village gossip, or telling endless sleepy stories 
ibout nothing. But it would have been w^orth any states- 
man's money to have heard the profound discussions which 
^ometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper 
ell into their hands, from some passing traveler. How 
solemnly they would listen to the contents, as drawled out 
n- Derrick Van Bummel, the school-master, a dapper 



36 WORKS OE WASHH^GTON" IRYIi^G. 

learned little man;, who was not to be daunted by the most 
gigantic word in the dictionary; and how sagely they would 
deliberate upon public events some months after they had 
taken place. 

The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by 
Mcholas Yedder^, a patriarch of the village^ and landlord 
of the inn^ at the door of which he took his seat from morn- 
ing till nighty just moving suflSLci|!ntly to avoid the sun^ and 
kee-p in the shade of a large tree; so that the neighbors 
could tell the hour by his movements as accurately as by a 
sun-dial. It is true^ he was rarely heard to s|)eak, but 
smoked his pipe incessantly. His adherents^ however (for 
every great man has his adherents)^ perfectly understood 
him, and knew how to gather his opinions. When any- 
thing that v,^as read or related displeased him^ he was ob- 
served to smoke his pipe vehemently, and to send forth 
short, frequent, and angry j)iiffs; but when pleased, he 
would inhale the smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit it 
in Mght and placid clouds, and sometimes taking the pipe 
from his mouth, and letting the fragrant vapor curl about 
]iis nose, would gravely nod his head in token of perfect 
approbation. 

From even this stronghold the unluck}^ Rip was at length \ 
routed by his termagant wife, who would suddenly break 
in upon the tranquillity of the assemblage, and call the 
members all to naught; nor was that august personage^, 1 
Mcholas Yedder himself, sacred from the daring tongue of i 
this terrible virago, who charged him outright with encour- • 
aging her husband in habits of idleness. 

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair, and hi& 
only alternative to escape from the labor of the farm and 
the clamor of his wife, was to take gun in hand, and stroll ; 
away into the woods. . Here he would sometimes seat him^- 
self at the foot of a tree, and share the contents of his wal- 
let with Wolf, with whom he sympathized as a fellow-suf- i 
ferer in persecution. " Poor Wolf,'^ he would say, '• thv ' 



SKETCH-BOOK OF CiKOFFREY CKAYOX, GENT. 37 

mistress leads thee a clog's life of it; but never mind, my 
lad, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend to stand 
by thee!'' Wolf would wag his tail, look wistfully in his 
master's face, and if dogs can feel piiy, I verily believe he 
reciprocated the sentiment with all his heart. 

In a long ramble of the kind, on a fine autumnal day. 
Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest 
parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. He was after his favor- 
ite sport of squirrel-shooting, and the still solitudes had 
echoed and re-echoed with the reports of his gun. Pant- 
ing and fatigued, he threw himself, late in the afternoon, 
on a green knoll covered with mountain herbage, that 
crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening be- 
tween the trees, he could overlook all the lower country for 
many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the 
lordly Hudson, far, far below him, movhig on its silent but 
majestic course, with the reflection of a purj)le cloud, or 
the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its 
glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands. 

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain 
glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with frag- 
ments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by 
the reflected rays of the setting' sun. For some time .Rip 
lay musing on this scene; evening was gradually advanc- 
ing; the mountains began to throw their long blue shadows 
over the valleys; he saw that it would be dark long before 
he could reach the village; and he heaved a heavy sigh 
when he thought of encountering the terrors of Dame Van 
Winkle. 

As he was about to descend he heard a voice from a dis- 
tance hallooing, ^^ Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van AYinkle!" 
He looked around, but couici see nothing but a crow wing- 
ing its solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his 
fancy must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, 
where he heard the same cry ring through the still evening 
air, " Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" At the same 



38 WORKS OF WASHINGTOlN" TRYING. 

time Wolf bristled up his back^ and giYing a low growl, 
skulked to liis master^s side, looking fearfully down into 
the glen. Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over 
liini; he looked anxiously in the same direction, and per- 
ceiyed a strange figure slowly toiling u]) the rocks, and 
bending under the weight of something he carried on his 
]jack. He was surprised to see any human being in this 
lonely and unfrequented place, but su|)posing it to be some 
one of the neighborhood in need of his assistance, he has- 
tened down to yield it. 

On nearer approach, he was still more surjDrised at the 
singularity of the stranger^ s appearance. He was a short 
square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a griz- 
zled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion : a 
cloth jerkin . strapped round the waist, several pairs of 
breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated with 
rows of buttons dov/n the sides, and bunches at the knees. 
He bore on his shoulders a stout keg, that seemed full of 
liquor," and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him 
vrith the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this 
new acquaintance, Rijo complied with his usual alacrity, 
and mutually relieving each other, they clambered up a 
narrow gully, apparently^ the dry bed of a mountain tor- 
rent. As they ascended, 'Rip every now and then heard 
long rolling peals, like distant thunder, that seemed to issue 
from out of a deep ravine, or rather cleft between lofty 
rocks, toward which their rugged path conducted. He 
paused for an instant, but supposing it to be the muttering 
of one of those transient thunder- showers which often take 
place in the mountain heights, he proceeded. Passing 
through the ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small 
amphitheater, surrounded by perpendicular preciiDices, over 
the brmks of which impending trees shot their branches, 
so that you only caught glimpses of the azure sky, and the 
bright evening cloud. During the whole time, Eip and Iris 
companion had labored on in silence; for though the former 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 39 

marveled greatty what could be the object of cariTiiig a keg 
of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was something 
strange and incomprehensible about the miknowji, that in- 
spired awe, and checked familiarity. 

On entering the amphitheater, new objects of won^kr 
presented themselves. On a level spot in the center was a 
company of odd-looking jjersonages playing at nine-jjins. 
They were .dressed in a quaint outlandish fashion : some 
wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in 
their belts, and most of them had enormous breeches, of 
similar style with that of the guide^s. Their visages too, 
were peculiar : one had a large head, broad face, and small 
piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist entire- 
ly of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar-loaf hat, 
set off with a little red cock^s tail. They all had beards, 
of various shapes and colors. There was one who seemed 
to be the commander. He was a stout old gentleman, with 
a weather-beaten countenance; he wore a laced doublet, 
broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and feather, red 
stockings, and high-heeled shoes, with roses in them. The 
vrhole group reminded Eip of the figures in aji old Flemish 
painting, in the parlor of Dominie Van Schaik, the village 
parson, ard which had been brought over from Holland at 
the time of the settlement. 

What seemed particularly odd to Eip was, that though 
these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they 
maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, 
and were, withal, the most melancholy party of j)leasure 
he had ever Avitnessed. Nothing interrupted the stillness 
of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever 
they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rumbling 
peals of thunder. 

As Rip and his companion approached them, they sud- 
denly desisted from their play, and stared at him with such 
a fixed statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth, lack- 
lnst<3r countenances, that his heart turned within him, and 



40 WORKS OF WASHlKGTOis' IRTING. 

liis knees smote togetlier. His com|)anioii now emptied 
the contents of the keg into large flagons^ and made signs 
to him to wait upon the company. He obeyed with fear 
and trembhng; they qnaifed the hquor in profound silencei» 
and then returned to their game. 

By degrees^ Eip^s awe and apprehension subsided. He 
eyen ventured^ when no eye was fixed upon him^, to taste 
the beverage, which he found had much of the flavor of 
excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and 
was soon tempted to rejDcat the draught. One taste pro- 
voked another, and he reiterated his visits to the flagon so 
often, that at length his senses were overpowered, his eyes 
swam in his head, his head gradually declined, and he fell 
into a deej) sleep. 

On waking, he found himself on the green knoll from 
whence he had first seen the old man of the glen. He 
rubbed his eyes; it was a bright sunny morning. The birds 
were ho|)j)ing and twittering among the bushes, and the 
eagle was wheeling aloft, and breasting the pure mountain 
breeze. " Surely,^' thought Eip, " I have not slept here 
till night. ^^ He recalled the occurrences before he fell 
asleep. The strange man with the keg of liquor, the 
mountain ravine, the wild retreat among the rocks, the 
woe-begone party at nine-pins, the flagon. "Oh! that 
wicked flagon!'^ thought Eip, '' what excuse shall I make 
to Dame Van Winkle?'' 

He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean 
well-oiled fowling-piece, he found an old firelock lying by 
him, the barrel encrusted with rust, the lock falling off, 
and the stock worm-eaten. He now suspected that the 
grave roysterers of the mountain had put a trick upon him, 
and having dosed him with liquor, had robbed him of his 
gun. Wolf, too, had disappeared, but he might have 
strayed away after a squirrel or partridge. He whistled 
after him and shouted his name, but all in vain; the echoes 
repeated his vfhistle and shout, but no dog was to be seen. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 4L 

He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's 
gambol^ and if he met with any of the party to demand his 
dog and gun. As he rose to walk, he found himself stiff 
in- the joints, and wanting in his usual activity. " These 
mountaiii beds do not agree with me/' thought Rip, " and 
if this frolic should lay me up with a fit of the rheumatism, 
I shall have a blessed time with Dame Van Winkle.'' 
With some difficidty he got down into the glen; he found 
the gully up which he and his companion had ascended the 
preceding evening; but to his astonishment a moimtain 
stream was now foaming down it, leaj^irig from rock to 
rock, and filling the glen with babbling murmurs. He, 
however, made shift to scramble up its sides, working his 
toilsome way through thickets of birch, sassafras, and 
witch-hazel; and sometimes tripped up or entangled by the 
wild grape vines that twisted their coils and tendrils from- 
tree to tree, and spread a kind of network in his path. 

At length he reached to where the ravine had opened 
through the cliffs to the amjohitheater; but no traces of 
such opening remained. The rocks presented a high im- 
penetrable wall, over which the torrent came tumbling in 
a sheet of feathery foam, and fell into a broad deep basin, 
black from the shadows of the surrounding forest. Here, 
then, poor Eip was brought to a stand. He again 
called and whistled after his dog; he was only answered by 
the cawing of a flock of idle crows, sporting high in the air 
about a dry tree that overhung a sunny precipice; and who, 
secure in their elevation, seemed to look down and scoff 
at the poor man's perplexities. Wl^at was to be done? 
The morning was passing away, and Eip felt famished for 
want of his breakfast. He grieved to give up his dog and 
gun; he dreaded to meet his wife; but it would not do to 
starve among the mountains. He shook his head, shoul- 
dered the rusty firelock, and, with a heart full of trouble 
and anxiety, turned his steps homeward. 

As he approached the village, he met a number of peo- 



i2 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

ple^ but none whom he knew^ wliicli somewhat surprised 
him^ for he had thought himself acquainted with every one 
in the country round. Their dress^ too^ was of a different 
fashion from that to which he was accustomed. They all 
stared at him with equal marks of surprise^ and whenever 
they cast eyes upon him, invariably stroked their chins. 
The constant recurrence of this gesture, induced Eip, in- 
Toluntarily, to do the same, when, to his astonishment, he 
found his beard had grown a foot long ! 

He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop 
of strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and 
pointing at his gray beard. The dogs, too, not one of 
which he recognized for an old acquaintance, barked at him 
as he passed. The very village was altered: it was larger 
and more populous. There were rows of houses which he 
had never seen before, and those which had been his famil- 
iar haunts had disappeared. Strange names were over the 
doors, strange faces at the windows, everj'-thing was strange. 
His mind now misgave him; he began to doubt whether 
both he and the Avorld around him were not bewitched. 
Surely this was his native village, wliich he had left but a 
day before. There stood the Kaatskill Mountains, there 
ran the silver Hudson at a distance, there was every hill 
and dale precisely as it had always been. Rip was surely 
j^erplexed. "That flagon last night, ^^ thought he, "has 
addled my poor head sadly !^^ 

It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his 
own house, which he apj)roached with silent awe, ex23ecting 
every moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Yan Win- 
kle. He found the ^ house gone to decay: the roof fallen 
in, the windows shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A 
half -starved dog, that looked like Wolf, was skulking about 
it. Ei|) called him by name, but the cur snarled, showed 
his teeth, and passed on. This was an unkind cut in- 
deed. " My very dog, ^^ sighed poor Eip, "has forgotten' 
me!^^ 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 43 

He entered the house, which, to tell the truth, Dame 
Van Winkle had always kept in neat order. It was empty, 
forlorn, and apparently abandoned. This desolateness 
overcame all his connubial fears; he called loudly for his 
wife and children, the lonely chambers rang for a moment 
with his voice, and then all again was silence. 

He now hurried forth, and- hastened to his old resort, the 
village inn, but it too was gone. A large rickety wooden 
building stood in its place, with great gaping windows, 
some of them broken, and mended with old hats and petti- 
coats, and over the door was painted, " The Union Hotel, 
by Jonathan Doolittle.^' Instead of the great tree that 
used to shelter the quiet little Dutch inn of yore, there now 
was reared a tall naked pole, with something on the top 
that looked hke a red night-cap, and from it was fluttering 
a flag, on which was a singular assemblage of stars and 
stripes; all this was strange and incomprehensible. He 
recognized on the sign, however, the ruby face of King 
George, under which he had smoked so many a peaceful 
pipe, but even this was singularly metamorphosed. The 
red coat was changed for one of blue buff, a sword was held 
hi the hand instead of a scepter, the head was decorated 
with a cocked hat, and underneath was painted in large 
characters. General Washington. 

There was, as usual, a crowd of folk about the door, but 
none that Rip recollected. The very character of the peo- 
ple seemed changed. There was a busy, bustling, dis- 
putatious tone about it, instead of accustomed phlegm and 
drowsy tranquillity. He looked in vain for the sage 
Nicholas Vedder, with his broad face, double chin, and 
fair long pipe, uttering clouds of tobacco smoke, instead of 
idle speeches; or Van Bummel, the school-master, doluig 
forth the contents of an ancient newspaper. In place of 
these, a lean, bilious-looking fellow, with his pockets full of 
handbills, was haranguing vehemently about rights of citi- 
zens, election, members of Congress, liberty, Bunker^ s Hill, 



il WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

heroes of seventy-six, and other words, that were a perfect 
Babylonish jargon to the bewildered Van Winkle. 

The appearance of Eip, with his long, grizzled beard, his 
rusty fowling-piece, his uncouth dress, and the army of 
women and children that had gathered at his heels, soon 
attracted the attention of the tavern politicians. They 
crowded round him, eying him from head to foot, with 
great curiosity. The orator bustled u]3 to him, and draw- 
ing him partly aside, inquired, " on which side he voted ?^^ 
Rip stared in vacant stupidity. Another short but busy 
little fellow pulled him by the arm, and rising on tiptoe, 
inquired in his ear, ' ^ whether he was Federal or Demo- 
crat/^ Rip was equally at a loss to comprehend the ques- 
tion; when a knowing, self-important old gentleman, in a 
sliar]3 cocked hat, made his way through the crowd, putting 
them to the right and left with his elbows as he passed, and 
planting himself before Van Winkle, with one arm 
akimbo, the other resting on his cane, his keen eyes and 
sharp hat penetrating, as it were, into his very soul, de- 
manded in an austere tone, '^ what brought him to the 
election with a gun on his shoulder, and a mob at his heels, 
and whether he meant to breed a riot in the village ?^^ 

" Alas! gentleman,^" cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, " I 
am a poor, quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal 
subject of the king, God bless him!^^ 

Here a general shout burst from the by-standers: "A 
Tory! a Tory! a spy! a refugee! hustle him! away with 
himV^ 

It was with great difficulty that the self-important man 
in the cocked hat restored order; and having assumed a 
tenfold austerity of brow, demanded again of the unknown 
culprit, what he came there for, and whom he was seeking. 
The poor man humbly assured him that he meant no harm, 
I) at merely came there in search of some of his neighbors, 
who used to keep about the tavern,--- 

^' Well, who are they? name them.^^ 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 45 

Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, 
'' Where's Nicholas Vedder?'' 

There was a silence for a little while, when an old man 
replied, in a thin, piping voice, '* Nicholas Vedder? why, 
he is dead and gone these eighteen years! There was a 
wooden tomb -stone in the church-yard that used to tell all 
about him, but that's rotten and gone too/' 

" Where's Brom Dutcher?" 

*' Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the 
war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony 
Point, others say he was drowned in the squall, at the foot 
of Anthony's Nose. I don't know, he never came back 
again." 

" Where's Van Bummel, the school-master?" 

'' He went off to the wars, too; was a great militia gen- 
eral, and is now in Congress." 

Rip's heart died away, at hearing of these sad changes in 
his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in 
the world. Every answer puzzled him, too, by treating of 
such enormous lapses of time, and of matters which he 
could not understand: war. Congress, Stony Point! he had 
no courage to ask after any more friends, but cried out in 
despair, " Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?" 

^' Oh, Rip Van Wrinkle!" exclaimed two or three. " Oh, 
to be sure ! that's Rip Van Winkle yonder, leaning against 
the tree." 

Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself 
as he went up the mountain; apparently as lazy, and cer- 
tainly as ragged. The poor fellow was now completely 
confounded. He doubted his own identity, and whether 
he was himself or another man. In the midst of his be- 
wilderment, the man in the cocked hat demanded who he 
was, and what was his name? 

" God knows," exclaimed he at his wits' end; ^' I'm not 
myself, I'm somebody else; that's me yonder, no, that's 
somebody else, got into my shoes. I was myself last night. 



46 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

but I fell asleep on the mountain^ and tliey^ve -cliangecl mj 
gun, and eveiy tiling^ s changed^ and I^m changed^ and I 
canH tell what^s my name^ or who I am!^^ 

The by-standers began now to look at each other^ ,iiod, 
wink significantly^ and tajD their fingers against their fore- 
heads. There was a whisper^ also^ about securing the gun^ 
and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief; at the very 
suggestion of which, the self-important man with the cocked 
hat retired with some precipitation. At this critical mo- 
ment a fresh comely woman passed through the throng to 
get a peep at the gray -bearded man. She had a chubby 
child in her arms, which, frightened at his looks, began to 
cry. " Hush, Eip,"^ cried she, " hush, you little fool; 
the old man wonH hurt you. "" The name of the child, the 
air of the mother, the tone of her voice, all awakened a 
train of recollections in his mind. 

" What is your name, my good woman .^^^ asked he. 

'^ Judith Gardenier.^^ 

" And your father'' s name?^" 

"Ah, poor man, his name was Rip Van Winkle; it's 
twenty years since he v/ent away from home with his gun, 
and never has been heard of since; his dog came home 
without him; but whether he shot himself, or was carried 
away by the Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but a 
little girl.'' 

Rip had but one question more to ask; but he put it with 
a faltering voice : 

" Where's your mother?" 

" Oh, she too had died but a short time since: she broke 
a blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New England peddler. '' 

There was a drop of comfort, at least, in this intelli- 
gence. The honest man could contain himself no longer. 
He caught his daughter and her child in his arms. '^ I 
am your father!" cried he. " Young Rip Yan Winkle 
once, old Rip Van Winkle now. Does nobody know poor 
Rip Yan Winkle?" 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFllEY CRAYON, GENT. 47 

AJl stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from 
among the crowd, jjut her hand to her brow, and peering 
under it in his face for a moment, exclaimed, " Sure 
enough I it is Rip Van Winkle, it is himself. Welcome 
home again, old neighbor. Wh}^ where have you been 
these twenty long years ?^^ 

Eip^s story was soon told, for the whole twenty years 
had been to him but as one night. The neighbors stared 
when they heard it; some were seen to wink at each other, 
and put their tongues in their cheeks; and the self-impor- 
tant man in the cocked hat, who, when the alarm was over, 
had returned to the field, screwed down the corners of his 
mouth, and shook his head, upon which there was a general 
shaking of the head throughout the assemblage. 

It was determined, however, to take the opinion of old 
Peter Yanderdonk, who was seen slowly advancing up the 
road. He was a descendant, of the historian of that name, 
who wrote one of the earliest accounts of the province. 
Peter was the most ancient inhabitant of the village, and 
well versed in all the wonderful events and traditions of 
the neighborhood. He recollected Rip at once, and cor- 
roborated his story in the most satisfactory manner. He 
assured the company that it was a fact, handed down from 
his ancestor the historian, that the Kaatskill Mountains 
had always been haunted by strange beings. That it was 
affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, the first discov- 
erer of the river and country, kept a kind of vigil there 
every twenty years, with his crew of the*' Half Moon,^' 
being permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his en- 
terprise, and keep a guardian eye upon the river and the 
great city called by his name. That his father had once 
seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at nine-pins 
in the hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had 
heard, one summer afternoon, the sound of their balls, like 
distant peals of thunder. 

To make a long story short, the company broke u]), and 



48 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

returned to the more important concerns of the election. 
Rip^s daughter took him home to live with her; she had a 
snug, well-furnished house, and a stout cheery farmer for 
a hushand, whom Rip recollected for one of the urchins 
that used to climb ujDon his back. As to Rip^s son and 
heir, who was the ditto of himself, seen leaning against the 
tree, he was employed to work on the farm; but evinced a 
hereditary disposition to attend to anything else but his 
business. 

Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found 
many of his former cronies, though all rather the worse for 
the wear and tear of time; and preferred making friends 
among the rising generation, with whom he soon grew into 
great favor. 

Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that 
happy age when a man can do nothing with impunity, he 
took his place once more on the bench, at the inn door, and 
was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, and 
a chronicle of the old times ^' before the war. ^^ It was 
some time before he could get into the regular track of gos- 
sip, or could be made to comprehend the strange events 
that had taken place during his torpor. How that there 
had been a revolutionary war, that the country had thrown 
off the yoke of old England, and that, instead of being a 
subject of his majesty George the Third, he was now a free 
citizen of the United States. Rip, in fact, was no politi- 
cian; the changes of states and empires made but little im- 
pression on him; but there was one species of des23otism 
imder which he had long groaned, and that was petticoat 
government. Happily, that was at an end; he had got his 
neck out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and 
out whenever he pleased, without dreading the tyranny of 
Dame Van Winkle. Whenever her name was mentioned^ 
however, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and 
east up his eyes; which might pass either for an expression 
of resignation to his fate, or joy at his deliverance. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CllAYOX, GENT. 49 

He used to tl^ll his story to every stranger that arrived at 
Mr. Doolittle's hotel. He was observed^ at first, to vary 
on some points every time he told it, which was doubtless 
owing to his having so recently awaked. It at last settled 
down precisely to the tale I have related, and not a man, 
woman, or child in the neighborhood, but knew it by heart. 
Some always pretended to doubt the reality of it, and in- 
sisted that Eip had been out of his head, and that this was 
one point on which he always remained flighty. The old 
Dutch inhabitants, however, almost universally gave it full 
credit. Even to this day, they never hear a thunder-storm 
of a summer afternoon about the Kaatskill, but they say 
Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their game of nine- 
pins; and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands 
in the neighborhood when life hangs heavy on their hands, 
that they might have a quieting draught out of Eij) Van 
Winkle^ s flagon. 



Note. — The foregoing tale, one would suspect, had been sug- 
gested to Mr. Knickerbocker by a little German superstition about 
the Emperor Frederick der Bothbart and the Kyppliauser Mountain; 
the subjoined note, however, which he had appended to the tale, 
shows that it is an absolute fact, narrated with his usual fidelity. 

" The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible to many, 
but nevertheless I give it my full belief, for I know the vicinity of 
our old Dutch settlements to have been very subject to marvelous 
events and appearances. Indeed, I have heard many stranger 
stories than this in the villages along the Hudson ; all of which 
were too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. I have even 
talked with Rip Van Winkle myself, who, when last I saw him, 
was a very venerable old man, and so perfectly rational and con- 
sistent on every other point, that I think no conscientious person 
could refuse to take this into the bargain; nay, I have seen a cer. 
tificate on the subject taken before a country justice, and signed 
with a cross, in the justice's own handwriting. The story, there- 
fore, is beyond the possibility of a doubt.** 



50 WORKS OP >YASHI]S"GTOiT IRVIKG. 



ENGLISH WRITERS ON AMERICA. 

Methinks I see in my mind a noble puissant nation, rousing her- 
self like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; 
methinks I see her as an eagle, mewing her mighty youth, and 
kindling her endazzled eyes at the full midday beam. 

. Milton on the Liberty of the Press. 

It is with feelings of deep regret that I observe the liter- 
ary animosity daily growing up between England and 
America. Great curiosity has been awakened of late with 
respect to the United States, and the London press has 
teemed with volumes of travels through the republic; but 
they seem intended to diffuse error rather than knowledge ; 
and so successful have they been, that, notwithstanding the 
constant intercourse between the nations, there is no people 
concerning whom the great mass of the British public have 
less pure information, or entertain more numerous j^rej- 
udices. 

English travelers are the best and the worst in the world. 
Where no motives of |)ride or interest intervene, none can 
equal them for profound and philosophical views of society, 
or faithful and graphical descriptions of external objects: 
but when either the interest or reputation of their own 
coimtry comes in collision with that of another, they go to 
the opiDOsite extreme, and forget their usual probity and 
candor, in the indulgence of splenetic remark, and an illib- 
eral spirit of ridicule. 

Hence, their travels are more honest and accurate, the 
more remote the country described. I would place implicit 
confidence in an Englishman'' s description, of the regions 
beyond the cataracts of the Mle; of unknown islands in 
the Yellow Sea; of the interior of India; or of any other 
tract which other travelers might be apt to picture out with 
the illusions of their fancies. But I would cautiously re 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFIIKY CliAYON, GHNT. 51 

■ive liis account of his immediate neighbors, and of those 
nations with which he is in habits of most frequent inter- 
course. However I might be disposed to trust his proljity, 
I dare not trust his prejudices. 

It has also been the pecuHar lot of our country to be 
visited by the worst kind of English travelers. While men 
of philosophical spirit and cultivated minds have been sent 
from England to ransack the poles, to penetrate the deserts, 
and to study the manners and customs of barbarous na- 
tions, with which she can have no permanent intercourse 
of profit or pleasure, it has been left to the broken-down 
tradesman, the scheming adventurer, the wandering 
mechanic, the Manchester and Birmingham agent, to be 
her oracles respecting America. From such sources she is 
content to receive her information respectmg a comitry in 
a singular state of moral and physical development; a coun- 
try in which one of the greatest political experiments in the 
history of the world is now performing, and which presents 
the most profound and momentous studies to the statesman 
and the philosopher. 

That such men should give prejudiced accoimts of 
America, is not a matter of surprise. The themes it offers 
for contemplation, are too vast and elevated for their capa- 
cities. The national character is yet in a state of fer- 
mentation: it may have its frothiness and sediment, but its 
ingredients are sound and wholesome : it has already given 
proofs of powerful and generous qualities; and the whole 
promises to settle down into something substantially excel- 
lent. But the causes which are operating to strengthen 
and ennoble it, and its daily indications of admirable prop- 
erties, are all lost upon these purblind observers, who are 
only affected by the little asperities incident to its present 
situation. They are capable of judging only of the sur- 
face of things, of those matters which come in contact with 
their private interests and personal gratifications. They 
miss some of the snug conveniences and petty comforts 



52 WORKS OF WASHIirGTOK IRyiN"G. 

which belong to an old^ highly finished^ and over-populous 
state of society; where the ranks of useful labor are crowd- 
ed^ and many earn a painful and servile subsistence^ by- 
studying the very caprices of appetite and self-indulgence. 
These minor comforts, however, are all-important in the 
estimation of narrow minds; which either do not perceive, 
or will not acknowledge, that they are more than counter- 
balanced among us, by great and generally diffused bless- 
ings. 

They may, perhaps, have been disappointed in some un- 
reasonable expectation of sudden gain. They may have 
pictured America to themselves an El Dorado, where gold 
and silver abounded, and the natives were lacking in 
sagacity; and where they were to become strangely and 
suddenly rich, in some unforeseen but easy manner. The 
same weakness of mind that indulges absurd expectations, 
produces petulance in disappointment. Such persons be- 
come imbittered against the country on finding that there, 
as everywhere else, a man must sow before he can reap; 
must win wealth by industry and talent; and must contend 
with the common difficulties of nature, and the shrewdness 
of an intelligent and enterj)rising peo|)le. 

Perhaps, through mistaken or ill-directed hospitality, or 
from the prompt disposition to cheer and countenance the 
stranger, prevalent among my countrymen, they may have 
been treated with unwonted res|)ect in America; and, hav- 
ing been accustomed all their lives to consider themselves 
Ijelow the surface of good society, and brought up in a serv- 
ile feeling of inferiority, they become arrogant, on the 
common boon of civility; they attribute to the lowliness of 
others their own elevation; and underrate a society where 
here are no artificial distinctions, and where by any chance, 
such individuals as themselves can rise to consequence. 

One would suppose, however, that information coming 
from such sources, on a subject where the truth is so desir- 
able, would be received with caution by the censors of the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKKY CRAVON, GENT. 53 

press; that the motives of these men, their veracity, their 
oj^portunities of inquiry and observation, and their capaei- 
ties for judging correctly, would be rigorously scrutinized, 
before their evidence was admitted, in such sweeping ex- 
tent, against a kindred nation. The very reverse, however, 
is the case, and it furnishes a striking instance of human 
inconsistency. Nothing can sur^oass the vigilance with 
which English critics will examine the credibility of the 
traveler who publishes an account of some distant, and 
comjDaratively unimportant, country. How warily will 
they compare the measurements of a j)yi'amid, or the de- 
scription of a ruin; and how sternly will they censure any 
linaccuracy in these contributions of merely curious knowl- 
^edge; while they will receive, with eagerness and unhesitat- 
ing faith, the gross misrepresentations of coarse and obscure 
writers, concerning a country with which their own is placed 
in the most important and delicate relations. Nay, they 
will even make these apocryphal volumes text-books, on 
hich to enlarge, with a zeal and an ability worthy of a 
more generous cause. 

I shall not, however, dwell on this irksome and hack- 
neyed topic; nor should I have adverted to it, but for the 
undue interest apparently taken in it by my countrymen, 
ind certain injurious effects which I ap^Drehend it might 
produce upon the national feeling. We attach too much 
consequence to these attacks. They can not do us any es- 
sential injury. The tissue of misrej)resentations attempted 
to be woven round us, are like cobwebs woven round the 
limbs of an infant giant. Our countrj^ continually out- 
grows them. One falsehood after another falls off of itself. 
V^e have but to live on, and every day we live a whole vol- 
ume of refutation. All the writers of England united, if 
we could for a moment suppose their great minds stooping 
to so unworthy a combination, could not conceal our rapidly 
growing importance and matchless prosperity. They could 
not tonceal that these are owing, not merely to physical 



54 WORKS OF WASHIJSTGTOiT IRVIJNG. 

and locals but also to moral causes; to the political liberty 
the general diffusion of knowledge^ the prevalence of sound, 
moral, and religious j)rinciples, which give force and sus- 
tained energy to the character of a people; and which, in 
fact, have been the acknowledged and wonderful supporters 
of their own national power and glory. 

But why are we so exquisitely alive to the aspersions of 
England? Why do we suffer ourselves to be so affected by 
the contumely she has endeavored to cast upon us? It is 
not in the opinion of England alone that honor lives, and 
reputation has its being. The world at large is the arbiter 
of a nation^s fame : with its thousand eyes it witnesses a 
natio]i^s deeds, and from their collective testimony is na- 
tional glory or national disgrace established. 

Eor ourselves, therefore^ it is comparatively of but little 
importance whether England does us justice or not; it is, 
perhaps, of far more importance to herself. She is instill- 
ing anger and resentment into the bosom of a youthful na- 
tion, to grow with its growth^, and strengthen with its 
strength. If in America, as some of her writers are labor- 
ing to convince her, she is hereafter to find an invidious 
rival, and a gigantic foe, she may thank those very writers 
for having provoked rivalship, and irritated hostility 
Every one knows the all-pervading influence of literatui 
at the present day, and how much the opinions and pas- 
sions of mankind are under its control. The mere contests 
of the sword are temporary; their wounds are but in the 
flesh, and it is the pride of the generous to forgive and for- 
get them ; but the slanders of the pen pierce to the heart 
they rankle longest in the noblest spirits; they dwell ever 
present in the mind, and render it morbidly sensitive to 
the most trifling collision. It is but seldom that any one 
overt act produces hostilities betw^een two nations; ther< 
exists, most commonly, a previous jealousy and ill-will, a 
predisposition to take offense. Trace these to their cause, 
and how often will they be found to originate in the mis- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFEEY CRA'XON;, GENT. 55 

! chievoiis effusions of mercenary writers; who, secure in 
|.^ their closets, and for ignominious bread, concoct and circu- 
l late the venom that is to inflame the generous and the 
hruve. 

I am not laying too much stress wpon this 2:)oint; for it 
.applies most emphatically to our particular case. Over no 
J nation does the press hold a more absolute control than over 
^ the people of America; for the universal education of the 
poorest classes makes every individual a reader. There is 
nothing published in England on the subject of our coun- 
try, that does not circulate through every part of it. There 
is not a calumny dropped from an English pen, nor an un- 
worthy sarcasm uttered by an English statesman, that does 
not go to blight good-will, and add to the mass of latent 
resentment. Possessing, then, as England does, the fount- 
ain-head from whence* the literature of the language flows, 
how completely is it in her power, and how truly is it her 
duty, to make it the medium of amiable and magnanimous 
feeling, a stream where the two nations might meet to- 
gether, and drink in peace and kindness. Should she, 
however, persist in turning it to waters of bitterness, the 
time may come when she may repent her folly. The pres- 
ent friendship of America may be of but little moment to 
her; but the future destinies of that country do not admit 
of a doubt: over those of England, there lower some 
1 shadows of uncertainty. Should, then, a day of gloom 
arrive — should those reverses overtake her, from which the 
proudest empires have not been exempt, she may look back 
watli regret at her infatuation, in repulsing from her side 
a nation she might have grappled to her bosom, and thus 
destroying her only chance for real friendship beyond the 
boundaries of her own dominions. 

There is a general impression in England, that the j^eo- 
ple of the United States are inimical to the parent country. 
It is one of the errors which has been diligently propagat- 
ed by designing writers. There is, doubtless, considerable 



56 WORKS OP VYASSIHGTON IRYIKG. 

political hostility^ and a general soreness at the illiberality 
of the English jaress; but^ collectively speaking, the pre- 
possessions of the people are strongly in favor of England. 
Indeed, at one time they amounted, in many parts of the 
Union, to an absurd degree of bigotry. The bare name of 
Englishman was a passport to the confidence and hosj)ital- 
ity of every family, and too often gave a transient currency 
to the worthless and the ungrateful. Throughout the 
country, there was something of enthusiasm connected 
with the idea of England. We looked to it with a hallowed 
feeling of tenderness and veneration, as the land of our 
forefathers, the august repository of the monuments and 
antiquities of our race, and birth-place and mausoleum of 
the sages and heroes of our paternal history. After our 
own country, there was none in whose glory we more de- 
lighted, none whose good opinion we were more anxious to 
possess, none toward which our hearts yearned with such 
throbbings of warm consanguinity. Even during the late 
war, whenever there was the least opportunity for kind 
feelings to spring forth, it was the delight of the generous 
spirits of our country to show, that in the midst of hostili- 
ties, they still kept alive the sparks of future friendship. 

Is all this to be at an end? Is this golden band of kin- 
dred sympathies, so rare between nations, to be broken 
forever? Perhaps it is for the best; it may dispel an allu- 
sion which might have kept us in mental vassalage; which 
might have interfered occasionally with our true interests, 
and prevented the growth of proper national pride. '^But 
it is hard to give up the kindred tie ! and there are feelings 
dearer than interest, closer to the heart than pride, that 
will still make us cast back a look of regret as we wander 
further and further from the paternal roof, and lament the 
waywardness of the parent that would repel the affections 
of the child. 

Short-sighted and injudicious, however, as the conduct 
of England may be in this system of aspersion, recrimina- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 57 

tion on our part would be equally ill-judged. I speak not 
of a prompt and spirited vindication of our country, or t^^e 
keenest castigation of her slanderers, but I allude to a dis- 
position to retaliate in kind, to retort sarcasm and inspire 
prejudice, which seems to be spreading widely among our 
writers. Let us guard particularly against such a temj^er; 
for it would double the evil, instead of redressing the 
wrong. Nothing is so easy and inviting as the retort of 
abuse and sarcasm; but it is a paltry and unprofitable con- 
test. It is the alternative of a morbid mind, fretted into 
petulance, rather than warmed into indignation. If Eng- 
land is willing to permit the mean jealousies of trade, or 
the rancorous animosities of politics, to deprave the integ- 
rity of the press, and poison the fountain of public opinion, 
let us beware of her example. She may deem it her inter- 
est to diffuse error, and engender antipathy, for the j^ur- 
pose of checking emigration; we have no j)urpose of the 
kind to serve. Neither have we any spirit of national jeal- 
ousy to gratify; for as yet, in all our rivalships with Eng- 
land, we are the rising and the gaining party. There can 
be no end to answer, therefore, but the gratification of re- 
sentment, a mere spirit of retaliation; and even that is im- 
potent. Our retorts are never republished in England; 
they fall short, therefore, of their aim ; but they foster a 
querulous and peevish temper among our writers; they sour 
the sweet flow of our early literature, and sow thorns and 
brambles among its blossoms. What is still worse, they 
circulate through our own country, and, as far as they have 
effect, excite virulent national prejudices. This last is the 
evil most especially to be deprecated. Governed, as we are, 
entirely by public opinion, the utmost care should be taken 
to preserve the purity of the public mind. Knowledge is 
power, and truth is knowledge; whoever, therefore, know- 
ingly propagates a prejudice, willfully saps the foundation 
of his country^ s strength. 

The members of a republic, above all other men, should 



58 WOEKS OF WASHIHGTOK IRVIKG. 

be candid and dispassionate. They are^ individual!}^. j)oy- 
tions of the sovereign mind and sovereign will,, and should 
be enabled to come to all questions of national concern with 
calm and unbiased judgments. . From the peculiar nature 
of our relations with England, we must have more frequent 
questions of a difficult and delicate character with her, than 
with any other nation; questions that affect the most acute 
and excitable feelings: and as, in the adjusting of these^ 
our national measures must ultimately be determined by 
po|)ular sentiment, we can not be too anxiously attentive 
to purify it from all latent passion or prepossession. 

Opening too, as we do, an asylum for strangers from 
every portion of the earth, we should receive all with im- 
partiality. It should be our pride to exhibit an example 
of one nation, at least, destitute of national antipathies^ 
and exercising, not merely the overt acts of hospitality, but 
those more rare and noble courtesies which spring from lib- 
erality of opinion. 

What have we to do with national prejudices? They are 
the inveterate diseases of old countries, contracted in rude 
and ignorant ages, when nations knew but little of each 
other, and looked beyond their own boundaries with distrust 
and hostility. We, on the contrary, have sprung into na- 
tional existence in an enlightened and philosophic age^ 
when the different parts of the habitable world, and the 
various branches of the human family, have been indefati- 
gably studied and made known to each other; and we forego 
the advantages of our birth, if we do not shake off the na- 
tional prejudices, as we would the local sujoerstitions, of' 
the old world. 

But above all, let us not be influenced by any angry feel- 
ings, so far as to shut our eyes to the perception of what is 
really excellent and aimable in the English character. \^'e 
are a young people, necessarily an imitative one, and must 
take our examples and models, in a great degree; from the 
existing nations of Europe-. There is no country more 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOfFllEY CKAYOX, GENT. 59 

worthy of our stud}^ than England. The spirit of her con- 
stitution is most analogous to ours. The manners of her 
peoj^le; their intellectual activity; their freedom of oi^in- 
ion; their habits of thinking on those subjects which con- 
cern the dearest interests and most sacred charities of pri- 
vate life, are all congenial to the American character; and, 
in fact, are all intrinsically excellent: for it is in the moral 
feeling of the people that the deep foundations of British 
prosperity are laid ; and however the su23erstructure may be 
time-worn, or overrun by abuses, there must be something 
solid in the basis, admirable in the materials, and stable in 
the structure of an edifice that so long has towered un- 
shaken amidst the tempests of the world. 

Let it be the pride of our writers, therefore, discarding 
all feelings of irritation, and disdaining to retaliate the 
illiberality of British authors, to sj^eak of the English na- 
tion without prejudice, and with determined candor. While 
they rebuke the indiscriminating bigotry with which some 
of our countrymen admire and imitate everj^thing English, 
merely because it is English, let them frankly point out 
w^hat is really worthy of approbation. We may thus place 
England before us as a perpetual volume of reference, 
wherein are recorded sound deductions from ages of ex- 
perience; and wdiile we avoid the errors and absurdities 
which may have crept into the page, we may draw thence 
golden maxims of practical wisdom, wherewith to strengthen 
and to embellish our national character. 



60 WORKS OF WASHINGTOis" IRVING. 



RURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND. 

Oh! friendly to the best pursuits of man, 
Friendl}' to thought, to virtue, and to peace. 
Domestic life in rural pleasures past! 

COWPER. 

The stranger who would form a correct opinion of the 
Enghsh character^, must not confine his observations to the 
metropohs. He must go forth into the comitry; he musi 
sojourn in villages and hamlets; he must visit castles, 
villas^ farm-houses, cottages; he must wander through 
parks and gardens; along hedges and green lanes; he musi 
loiter about country churches; attend wakes and fairs, and 
other rural festivals; and cope with the people in all their 
conditions, and all their habits and humors. 

In some countries, the large cities absorb the wealth and 
fashion of the nation; they are the only fixed abodes of : 
elegant and intelligent society^ and the country is inhabited 
almost entirely by boorish peasantry. In England, on the 
contrary^ the^ietropolis is a mere gathering place, or gen- • 
eral rendezvous, of the polite classes^ where they devote a 
small portion of the year to a hurry of gayety and dissipa- 
tion, and having indulged this kind of carnival^ returi: 
again to the apparently more congenial habits of rural life 
The various orders of society are therefore diffused over tlit 
whole surface of the kingdom^ and the most retired neigh-, 
borhoods afford specimens of the different ranks. 

The English, in fact, are strongly gifted with the rural-: 
feeling. They possess a quick sensibility to the beauties of 
nature^ and a keen relish for the pleasures and employ-; 
ments of the country. This passion seems inherent in| 
them. Even the inhabitants of cities^ born and brought 
up among brick walls and bustling streets, enter with- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 61 

facility into rural habits, and evince a tact for rural occu- 
pation. The merchant has his snug retreat in the vicinity 
of the metropolis, where he often displays as much pride 
and zeal in the cultivation of his flower-garden, and the 
maturing of his fruits, as he does in the conduct of his busi- 
ness, and the success of a commercial enterprise. Even 
those less fortunate individuals, who are doomed to pass 
their lives in the midst of din and trafiBc, contrive to have 
something that shall remind them of the green asjoect of 
nature. In the most dark and dingy quarters of the city, 
the drawing-room window resembles frequently a bank of 
flowers; every spot capable of vegetation has its grass-plot 
and flower-bed; and every square its mimic j^ark, laid out 
with picturesque taste, and gleaming with refreshing ver- 
dure. 

Those who see the Englishman only in town, are apt to 
form an unfavorable opinion of his social character. He is 
either absorbed in business, or distracted by the thousand 
engagements that dissipate time, thought, and feeling, in 
this huge metropolis. He has, therefore, too commonly, 
a look of hurry and abstraction. Wherever he happens to 
be, he is on the point of going somewhere else; at the mo- 
ment he is talking on one subject, his mind is wandering 
to another; and while paying a friendly visit, he is calculat- 
ing how he shall economize time so as to pay the other visits 
allotted to the morning. An immense metropohs, hke 
London, is calculated to make men selfish and uninterest- 
ing. In their casual and transient meetings, they can but 
deal briefly in commonplaces. They present but the cold 
superfices of character; its rich and genial qualities have 
no time to be warmed into a flow. 

It is in the country that the Englishman gives scope to 
his natural feelings. He breaks loose gladly from the cold 
formalities and negative civilities of town; throws off his 
habits of shy reserve, and becomes joyous and free-hearted. 
He manages to collect round him all the conveniences and 



62 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

elegancies of polite life, and to banish its restraints. His 
country seat abounds witli every requisite, either for studious 
retirement, tasteful gratification, or rural exercise. Books, 
paintings, music, horses, dogs, and sporting implements of 
all kinds, are at hand. He puts no constraint, either upon 
his guests or himself, but, in the true spirit of hospitaht}^, 
provides the means of enjoyment, and leaves every one to 
partake according to his inclination. 

The taste of the English in the cultivation of land, and 
in Y/hat is called landscape gardening, is unrivaled. They 
have studied Nature intently, and discovered an exquisite 
sense of her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. 
Those charms which, in other countries, she lavishes in 
wild solitudes, are here assembled round the haunts of 
domestic life. They seem to have caught her coy and fur- 
tive graces, and spread them, like witchery, about their 
rural abodes. 

Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of 
English park scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets 
of vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees 
heaping up rich piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of 
groves and woodland glades, with the deer trooping in silent 
herds across them; the hare, bounding away to the covert; 
or the pheasant, suddenly bursting upon the wing. The 
brook, taught to wind in natural meanderings, or expand 
into a glassy lake; the sequestered pool, reflecting the quiv- 
ering trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom, and 
the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters: while 
some rustic temple, or sylvan statue, grown green and 
dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity to the seclu- 
sion. 

These are but a few of the features of joark scenery : but 
what most delights me, is the creative talent with which the 
English decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle life. 
The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and scanty 
20ortion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of taste. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFi-KEY CRAYON, GENT. 03 

becomes a little paradise. With a nicely discriminating 
eye, he seizes at once upon its capabihties, and pictures in 
his mind the future landscape. The sterile spot grows into 
loveliness under his hand; and yet the operations of art 
which produce the effect are scarcely to be perceived. The 
cherishing and training of some trees; the cautious prun- 
ing of others; the nice distribution of flowers and plants of 
tender aiid graceful foliage; the introduction of a green 
slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to a peep of blue 
distance, or silver gleam of water; all these are managed 
with a delicate tact, a pervading yet quiet assiduity, like 
the magic touchings with which a paiiiter finishes up a 
favorite picture. 

The residence of people of fortune and refinement in the 
country, has diif used a degree of taste and elegance in rural 
economy, that descends to the lowest class. The very 
laborer, with his thatched cottage and narrow slij) of ground, 
attends to their establishment. The trim hedge, the grass- 
plot before the door, the little flow^er-bed bordered with 
snug box, the woodbine trained up against the wall, and 
hanging its blossoms about the lattice ; the pot of flowers, in 
the window; the holly, providently jDlanted about the house, 
to cheat winter of its dreariness, and to throw in a sem- 
blance of green summer to cheer the fireside; all these be- 
speak the influence of taste, flowing down from high sources^ 
and pervading the lowest levels of the public mind. If ever 
Love, as poets sing, delights to visit a cottage, it must be 
the cottage of an English peasant. 

The fondness for rural life among the higher classes of 
the English, has had a great and salutary effect upon the 
national character. I do not know a finer race of men 
than the English gentlemen. Instead of tlie softness and 
effeminacy which characterize the men of rank in most 
countries, they exhibit an union of elegance and strength, 
a robustness of frame and freshness of complexion, which 
I am inclined to attribute to their living so much in the 



64 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

013611 air^ and pursuing so eagerly the invigorating recrea- 
tions of the country. The hardy exercises produce also a 
healthful tone of mind and spirits;, and a manliness and 
simplicity of manners, which even the follies and dissipa- 
tions of the town can not easily pervert, and can never en- 
tirely destroy. In the country, too, the different orders of 
society seem to approach more freely, to be more disposed 
to blend and operate favorably upon each other. The dis- 
tinctions between them do not appear to be so marked and 
impassable, as in the cities. The manner in which prop- 
erty has been distributed into small estates and farms, has 
established a regular gradation from the noblemen, through 
the classes of gentry, small landed proprietors, and sub- 
stantial farmer, down to the laboring peasantry; and while 
it has thus banded the extremes of society together, has in- 
fused into each intermediate rank a spirit of independence. 
This, it must be confessed, is not so universally the case at 
present as it was formerly; the larger estates having, in 
late years of distress, absorbed the smaller, and, in some 
parts of the country, almost annihilated the sturdy race of 
small farmers. These, however, I believe, are but casual 
breaks in the general system I have mentioned. 

In rural occuj)ation, there is nothing mean and debas- 
ing. It leads a man forth among scenes of natural grand- 
eur and beauty; it leaves him "to the workings of his own 
mind, operated upon by the purest and most elevating of 
external influences. Such a man may be simple and rough, 
but he can not be vulgar. The man of refinement, there- 
fore, finds nothing revolting in an intercourse with the 
lower orders in rural life, as he does when he casually min- 
gles with the lower orders of cities. He lays aside his dis- 
tance and reserve, and is glad to waive the distinctions of 
rank, and to enter into the honest, heartfelt enjoyments of 
common life. Indeed, the very amusements of the coun- 
try bring men more and more together; and the sound of 
hound and horn blend all feelings into harmony. I believe 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOK, GENT. G5 

this is one great reason why the nobility and gentry are 
more jDopular among the inferior orders in Enghind, than 
they are in any other country: and why the latter have en- 
dured so many excessive pressures and extremities, without 
Irepining more generally at the unequal distribution of fort- 
une and privilege. 

To this mingling of cultivated and rustic society, may 
also be attributed the rural feeling that runs through Brit- 
ish literature; the frequent use of illustrations from rural 
life ; those incomparable descriptions of Nature, that abound 
in the British poets, that have continued down from *' The 
Flower and the Leaf ^ ' of Chaucer, and have brought into 
closets all the freshness and fragrance of the dewy land- 
scape. The pastoral writers of other countries appear as if 
they had paid Nature an occasional visit, and become ac- 
quainted with her general charms; but the British poets 
have lived and reveled with her; they have wooed her in 
her most secret haunts; they have watched her minutest 
caprices. A spray could not tremble in the breeze, a leaf 
coidd not rustle to the ground, a diamond drojo could not 
patter in the stream, a fragrance could not exhale from 
the himible violet, nor a daisy unfold its crimson tints to 
the morning, but it has been noticed by these impassioned 
and delicate observers, and wrought up into some beautiful 
morality. 

The effect of this devotion of elegant minds to rural oc- 
cupations, has been wonderful on the face of the country. 
A great part of the island is rather level, and would be 
monotonous, were it not for the charms of culture; but it 
is studded and gemmed, as it were, with castles and palaces, 
and embroidered with parks and gardens. It does not 
abound in grand and sublime prospects, but rather in little 
home scenes of rural repose and sheltered quiet. Every 
antique farm-house and moss-grown cottage is a j^icture; 
and as the roads are continually winding, and the view is 
yhut hi by groves and hedges, the eye is delighted by a con- 



66 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRYING, ^{ 

tiiinal succession of small landscapes of captivating loveli- 
ness. 

The great charm, however, of English scenery, is the' 
moral feeling that seems to pervade it. It is associated in 
the mind with ideas of order, ^of qniet, of sober well-estab- 
lished principles, of hoary usage and reverend custom. 
Everything seems to be the growth of ages of regular and 
peaceful existence. The old church, of remote architect- 
ure, with its low massive portal; its Gothic tower; its win- 
dows, rich with tracery and painted glass, in scrupulous 
preservation; its stately monuments of warriors and vforthies 
of the olden time, ancestors of the present lords of the soil; 
its tombstones, recording successive generations of sturdy 
yeomanry, v/hose progeny still plow the same fields, and 
kneel at the same altar; the parsonage, a quaint irregular 
pile, partly antiquated, but repaired and altered in the 
tastes of various ages and occujoants; the stile and footpath, 
leading from the church-yard, across pleasant fields, and 
along shady hedge-rows, according to an immemorable 
right of way; the neighboring village, with its venerable 
cottages, its public green, sheltered by trees, under which 
the forefathers of the present race have sported; the antique 
family mansion, standhig apart in some little rural domain, 
but looking down with a protecting air on the surrounding 
scene: all these common features of English landscape 
evince a calm and settled security, a hereditary transmis- 
sion of homebred virtues and local attachments, that speak 
deeply and touchhigly for the moral character of the nation. 
It is a pleasing sight, of a Sunday morning, when the 
bell is sending its sober melody across the quiet fields, to 
behold the peasantry in their best finery, with ruddy faces, 
and modest cheerfulness, thronging tranquilly along the 
green lanes to church; but it is still more pleasing to see 
them in the evenings, gathering about their cottage doors^ 
and appearing to exult in the humble comforts and embel- 
lishments which their own hands have spread around them*. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYU^,, GENT. 07 

It is this sweet home feeling, this settled repose of affec- 
tion in the domestic scene, that is, after all, the parent of 
the steadiest virtues and purest enjojanents; and I can not 
close these desultory remarks better, than by quoting the 
words of a modern English poet, who has depicted it with 
Temarkable felicity. 

Through each gradation, from the castled hall, 
The city dome, the villa crowned with shade. 
But chief from modest mansions numberless, 
In town or hamlet, shelt'ring middle life, 
Down to the cottaged vale, and straw- roof 'd shed, 
This western isle has long been famed for scenes 
Where bliss domestic finds a dwelling-place: 
Domestic bliss, that like a harmless dove 
(Honor and sweet endearment keeping guard), 
Oaii center in a little quiet nest 
All that desire would fly for through the earth; 
That can, the world eluding, be itself 
A world enjoyed; that wants no witnesses 
But its own sharers, and approving Heaven. 
That, like a flower deep hid in rocky cleft, 
Smiles, though 'tis looking only at the sky.* 



THE BROKEN HEART. 

I never heard 
Of any true affection, but 'twas nipt 
With care, that, like the caterpillar, eats 
The leaves of the spring's sweetest book, the rose. 

MlDDLETOX. 

It is a common practice with those who have outlived the 
susceptibility of early feeling, or have been brought up in 
the gay heartlessness of dissipated life, to laugh at all love 
^stories, and to treat the tales of romantic j^^^ssion *as mere 
fictions of novelists and poets. My observations on human 

* From a poem on the death of the Princess Charlotte, by the 
Reverend Rann Ivenned}^ A.M. 



68 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOI^ lEVING. 

nature have induced me to think otherwise. They have 
convinced me^ that however the surface of the character 
may be chilled and frozen by the cares of the world, or cul- 
tivated into mere smiles by the arts of society, still there 
are dormant fires lurking in the depths of the coldest 
bosom, which, when once enkindled, become imjoetuous^ 
and are sometimes desolating in their effects. Indeed, I 
am a true believer in the blind deity, and go to. the full ex- 
tent of his doctrines. Shall I confess it.^ I believe in 
broken hearts, and the possibility of dying of disappointed 
love ! I do not, however, consider it a malady often fatal 
to my own sex; but I firmly believe that it withers down 
many a lovely woman into an early grave. 

Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His nature 
leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the world. 
Love is but the embellishment of his early life, or a song 
piped in the intervals of the acts. He seeks for fame, for 
fortune, for space in the world's thought, and dominion 
over his fellow-men. But a woman'' s whole life is a history 
of the affection. The heart is her world; it is there her 
ambition strives for empire, it is there her avarice seeks for 
hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies on ad- 
venture; she embarks her whole soul in the traffic of affec- 
tion; and if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless, for it is a 
bankruptcy of the heart. 

To a man, the disappointment of love may occasion some 
bitter j)angs: it wounds some feelings of tenderness, it 
blasts some prospects of felicity; but he is an active being; 
he may dissijDate his thoughts in the whirl of varied occupa- 
tion, or may plmige into the tide of pleasure; or, if the 
scene of disapj)ointment be too full of painful associations, 
he can shift his abode at will, and taking, as it were, the 
wings of the morning, can '^ fly to the uttermost parts of 
the earth, and be at rest.''' 

But woman's is comparatively a fixed, a secluded, and a| 
meditative life. She is more the companion of her owii] 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 09 

thoughts and feelings; and if they are turned to ministers 
of sorrow, where shall she look for consolation? Her lot is 
to be' wooed and won ; and if unhappy in her love, her heart 
is like some fortress that has been captured, and sacked, 
and abandoned, and left desolate. 

How many bright eyes grow dim, how many soft cheeks 
grow pale, how many lovely forms fade away into the tomb, 
and none can tell the cause that blighted their loveliness! 
As tijie dove will clasp its wings to its side, and cover and 
conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals, so is it the 
nature of woman, to hide from the Avorld the pangs of 
wounded affection. The love of a delicate female is always 
shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely breathes 
it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries it in the re- 
cesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and brood 
among the ruins of her peace. With her, the desire of her 
heart has failed, the great charm of existence is at an end. 
She neglects all the cheerful exercises which gladden the 
spirits, quicken the pulses, and send the tide of life in 
healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is* broken, 
the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melaneholy 
dreams; "dry sorrow drinks her blood,'' until her en- 
feebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury. 
Look for her, after a while, and you find friendship weep- 
ing over her untimely grave, and wondering that one, who 
but lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty, ■ 
should so speedily be brought down to " darkness and the 
worm." You will be told of some wintery chill, some casual 
indisposition, that laid her low, but no one knows the men- 
tal malady that previously sapped her strength, and made 
her so easy a prey to the spoiler. 

She is like some tender tree, the j)ride and beauty of the 
grove: graceful in its form, bright in its foliage, but with 
the worm preying at its heart. We find it suddenly with- 
ering, when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see 
it drooping its branches to the earth, and shedding leaf by 



70 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

leaf; until^ wasted and perished away, it falls even in tlie 
stillness of the forest; and as we mnse over the beautiful 
ruin, we strive in vain to recollect the blast or thunderbolt 
that could have smitten it with decay. 

I have seen many instances of women running to waste 
and self -neglect, and disappearing gradually from the earth, 
almost as if they had been exhaled to heaven; and have re- 
23eatedly fancied, that I could trace their deaths through 
the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, 
languor, melancholy, until I reached the first sj^mptom of 
disappointed love. But an instance of the kind was lately 
told me; the circumstances are well known in the country 
where they happened, and I shall but give them in the 
manner in which they were related. 

Every one must recollect the tragical story of young 
E , the Irish patriot : it was too touching to be soon for- 
gotten. During the troubles in Ireland he was tried, con- 
demned, and executed, on a charge of treason. His fate 
made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was so 
young, So intelligent, so generous, so brave, so everything 
that 'we are apt to like in a young man. His conduct under 
trial, too, was so lofty and intrej)id. The noble indigna- 
tion with which he repelled the charge of treason against 
his country, the eloquent vindication of his name, and his 
pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless hour of con- 
demnation, all these entered deeply into every generous 
bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that 

■" dictated his execution. 

i But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be im- 
possible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes, 
he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting 
girl, the daughter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She 
loved him with the disinterested fervor of a woman^s first 
and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself 
agamst him; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and 
danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 71 

ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could 
awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have been 
the agony of her, whose whole soul was occupied by his 
image? Let those tell who have had the portals of the 
tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they 
most loved on earth; who have sat at its threshold, as one 
shut out m a cold and lonely world, from whence all that 
was most lovely and loving had departed. 

But then the horrors of such a grave ! so frightful, so 
dishonored! There was nothing for memory to dwell on 
that could soothe the pang of separation; none of those ten- 
der, though melancholy circumstances, that endear the j^art- 
ing scene; nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, 
sent, like the dews of heaven, to revive the heart in the 
parting hour of anguish. 

To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had 
incurred her father^ s displeasure by her unfortunate attach- 
ment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could 
the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a 
spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she would have 
experienced no want of consolation, for the Irish are a peo- 
ple of quick and generous sensibilities. Tlie most delicate 
and cherishing attentions were paid her, by families of wealth 
and distinction. She was led into society, and they tried 
all kinds of occupation and amusement to dissipate her 
grief, and wean her from the tragical story of her loves. 
But it was all in vain. There are some strokes of calamity 
that scathe and scorch the soul, that penetrate to the vital 
seat of happiness, and blast it, never again to put forth bud - 
or blossom. She never objected to frequent the haunts of 
jileasure, but she was as much alone there, as in the depths 
of solitude. She walked abdut in a sad reverie, apj^arently 
unconscious of the world around her. She carried with 
her an inward woe that mocked at all the blandishments 
of friendship, and " heeded not the song of the charmer, 
charm he never so wisely.'^ 



72 WOEKS or WASlilXGTOK IRVIKG. 

The person who told me her story had seen her at a mas- 
querade. There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretched- 
ness more striking and painful than to meet it in such a 
scene. To find it wandering like a specter, lonely and joy- 
less, where all around is gay; to see it dressed out in the 
trajjpiugs of mirth;, and looking so wan and woe-begone, as 
if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into a mo- 
mentary f orgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling through 
the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter 
abstraction, she sat herself down on the steps of an orches- 
tra, and looking about for some time with a vacant air, 
that showed her insensibility to the garish scene, she began, 
with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to warble a little 
plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice; but on this oc- 
casion it was so simple, so touching, it breathed forth such 
a soul of wretchedness, that she drew a crowd, mute and 
silent, aroand her, and melted every one into tears. 

The story of one so true and tender could not but excite 
great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It 
completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his 
addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead, 
could not but prove affectionate to the living. She declined 
his attentions, for her thoughts were irrecoverably en- 
grossed by the memory of her former lover. He, however, 
persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but 
her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his worth, 
and her sense of her own destitute and dependent situation, 
for she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a word, 
he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with 
the solemn assurance, that her heart was unalterably 
another^ s. 

He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of 
scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She 
was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to 
be a happy one; but nothing could cure the silent and de- 
vouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFJIEY CRAYOX, GENT. 73 

She wasted away in a sloW;, but hopeless decline, and at 
lengtti sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart. 

It was on her that Moore, the distinguished Irish poet, 
composed the following lines : 

" She is far from the land where her j^oung hero sleeps. 
And lovers around her are sighing; 
But coldly she turns from their gaze, and weeps, 
For her heart in his grave is lying. 

" She sings the wild song of her dear native plains, 
Every note which he loved awaking — 
Ah! little they think, who delight in her strains, 
How the heart of the minstrel is breaking! 

" He had lived for his love — for his country he died, 
They were all that to life had entwined him — 
Nor soon shall the tears of his country J)e dried, 
Nor long will his love stay behind him! 

" Oh! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest, 
When they promise a glorious morrow ; 
Tliey'll shine o'er her sleep, like a smile from the west. 
From her own loved island of sorrow!" 



THE ART OF BOOK-MAKING, 

If that severe doom of Synesius be true — .' ' it is a greater offense 
to steal dead men's labors than their clothes" — what shall become 
of most writers? — Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. 

I HAVE often wondered at the extreme fecundity of the 
press, and how it comes to pass that so many heads, on 
which Nature seems to have inflicted the curse of barren- 
ness, yet teem with voluminous productions. As a man 
travels on, however, in the journey of - life, his objects of 
wonder daily diminish, and he is continually finding out 
some very sim2'>le cause for some great matter of marvel. 
Thus have I chanced in my peregrinations about this great 
metropolis^ to blunder upon a scene which unfolded to me 



74 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

some of the mysteries of the book-making craft, and at once 
13ut an end to my astonishment. 

I was one summer's day loitering through the great 
saloons of the British Museum, with that listlessness with 
which one is apt to saunter about a room in warm weather; 
some Limes lolling oyer the glass cases of minerals, some- 
times studying the hieroglyphics on an Egyptian mummy, 
and sometimes trying, with nearly equal success, to com- 
j)rehend the allegorical paintings on the lofty ceilings. 
While I was gazing about in this idle way, my attention 
was attracted to a distant door, at the end of a suite of 
a23artments. It was closed, but eyery now and then it 
would open, and some strange-fayored being, generally 
clothed in black, would steal forth, and glide through the 
rooms, without noticing any of the surrounding objects. 
There was an air of mystery about this that piqued my 
languid curiosity, and I determined to attempt the passage 
of that strait, and to explore the unknown regions ihat lay 
beyond. The door yielded to my hand, with all that facil- 
ity with which the portals of enchanted castles yield to the 
adyenturous knight-errant. I found myself in a spacious 
chamber, surrounded with great cases of yenerable books. 
Aboye the cases, and just under the cornice, were arranged 
a great number of black-looking portraits of ancient 
authors. About the room were placed long tables, with 
stands for reading and writing, at which sat many pale, 
cadaverous personages, poring intently oyer dusty volumes, 
rummaging among moldy manuscripts, and taking copious 
notes of their contents. The most hushed stillness reigned 
through this mysterious apartment, excepting that you 
might hear the racing of pens over sheets of paper, or, oc- 
casionally, the deep sigh of one of these sages, as he shifted 
his position to turn over the page of an old folio; doubtless 
arising from that hollowness and flatulency incident to 
learned research. 

JSTow and then one of these personages would write some- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 75 

thing on a small slip of paper, and ring a bell, whereupon 
a familiar would appear, take the paper in profound 
silence, glide out of the room, and return shortly loaded 
with ponderous tomes^, upon which the other would fall, 
tooth and nail, with famished voracity. I had no longer a 
doubt that I had happened upon a body of magi, dee2:)ly 
engaged in the study of occult sciences. The scene remind- 
ed me of an old Arabian tale, of a philosopher, who was 
shut up in an enchanted library, in the bosom of a mount- 
ain, that opened only once a year; when he made the spirits 
of the place obey his commands, and bring him books of 
all kinds of dark knowledge, so that at the end of the year, 
when the magic portal once more swung open on its hinges, 
he issued forth so versed in forbidden lore, as to be able to 
soar above the heads of the multitude, and to control the 
powers of Nature. 

My curiosity being now fully aroused, I whispered to one 
of the familiars, as he was about to leave the room, and 
begged an interpretation of the strange scene before me. 
A few words were sufficient for the purpose; I found that 
these mysterious personages, whom I had mistaken for 
magi, were principally authors, and were in the very act of 
manufacturing books. I was, in fact, in the reading-room 
of the great British Library, an immense collection of vol- 
umes of all ages and languages, many of which are now 
forgotten, and most of which are seldom read. To these 
sequestered pools of obsolete literature, therefore, do many 
modern authors repair, and draw buckets full of classic 
lore, or *' pure English, undefiled,'' wherewith to swell 
their own scanty rills of thought. 

Being now in possession of the secret, I sat down in a' 
corner, and watched the process of this book manufactory. 
I noticed one lean, bilious-looking wight, who sought none 
but the most worm-eaten volumes, printed in black-letter. 
He was evidently constructing some work of profound 
erudition, that would be purchased by every man who 



76 "WOEKS OF WASHIN"GTON IRVIKG. 

wished to be thought learned, placed upon a conspicuous 
shelf of his library, or laid open upon his table, but never 
read. I observed him, now and then, draw a large frag- ' 
ment of biscuit out of his pocket, and gnaw; whether it was 
his dinner, or whether he was endeavoring to keej) off that 
exhaustion of the stomach, produced by much pondering 
over dry works, I leave to harder students than myself to 
determine. 

There was one dapper little gentleman in bright-colored 
clothes, with a chirping gossiping expression of counte- 
nance, who had all the appearance of an author on good 
terms with his bookseller. After considering him atten- 
tively, I recognized in him a diligent getter-up of miscel- 
laneous works, which bustled off well with the trade. I 
was curious to see how he manufactured his wares. He 
made more show and stir of business than any of the others; 
dipping into various books, fluttering over the leaves of 
manuscripts, taking a morsel out of one, a morsel out of 
another, ' ' line upon line, precept upon precept, here a lit- 
tle and there a little.'^ The contents of his book seemed 
to be as heterogeneous as those of the witches^ caldron in 
in. Macbeth. It was here a finger and there a thumb, toe of 'i 
like frog and blind worm's sting, with his own gossip poured 
' ' baboon' s blood, ' ' to make the medley ' ' slab and good. ' ' 

After all, thought I, may not this pilfering disposition 
be implanted in authors for wise purposes? may it not be ^ 
the way in which Providence has taken care that the seeds * 
of knowledge and wisdom shall be preserved from age to 
age, in spite of the inevitable decay of the works in which 
they were first produced? We see that Nature has wisely, 
^though whimsically provided for the conveyance of seeds 
from clime to clime, in the maws of certain birds; so that 
animals, which, in themselves, are little better than carrion, 
and apparently the lawless plunderers of the orchard and 
the corn-field, are, in fact. Nature's carriers to disperse ^ 
and perpetuate her blessings. In like manner, the beauties '< 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CRAYON, GENT. 77 

and fine thoughts of ancient and obsolete writers are caught 
up by these flights of predatory authors, and cast forth, 
again to flourish and bear fruit in a remote and distant 
tract of time. Many of their works, also, undergo a kind 
of metempsychosis, and spring up under new forms. AVliat 
was formerly a ponderous histoiy, revives in the shape of a 
romance; an old legend changes into a modern play, and 
a sober philosophical treatise furnishes the body for a whole 
series of bouncing and sparkling essays. Thus it is in the, 
clearing of our American woodlands; where we burn down 
a forest of stately pines, a progeny of dwarf oaks start up 
in their place; and we never see the prostrate trunk of a 
tree, moldering into soil, but it gives birth to a whole tribe 
of fungi. 

Let us not, then, lament over the decay and oblivion into 
■which ancient writers descend; they do but submit to the 
great laws of Nature, which declares that all sublunary 
shapes of matter shall be limited in their duration, but 
which decrees, also, that their elements shall never perish. 
Generation after generation, both in animal and vegetable 
life, passes away, but the vital principle is transmitted to 
posterity, and the species continue to flourish. Thus, also, 
do authors beget authors, and having 23roduced a numerous 
progeny, in a good old age they sleep with their fathers; 
that is to say, with the authors who preceded them, and 
from whom they have stolen. 

Whilst I was thus indulging in these rambling fancies I 
had leaned my head against a pile of reverend folios. 
Whether it was owing to the soporific emanations from 
these works; or to the profound quiet of the room; or to 
the lassitude arising from much wandering; or to an un- 
lucky habit of napping at improper times and places, with 
which I am grievously afflicted, so it was, that I fell into a 
doze. Still, however, my imagination continued bus}'^, and 
indeed the same scene remained before my mind's eye, only 
a little changed in some of the details. I dreamed that the 



78 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOK IRVIKG. 

chamber was still decorated with the portraits of ancient 
authors, but the number was increased. The long tables 
had disappeared, and in place of the sage magi, I beheld a 
ragged, threadbare throng-, such as may be seen plying 
about the great repository of cast-oif clothes, Monmouth 
Street. Whenever they seized upon a book, by one of those 
incongruities common to dreams, methought it turned into 
a garment of foreign or antique fashion, with which fhej 
]3roceeded to eqai-p themselves. I noticed, however, that 
no one pretended to clothe himself from any particular suit, 
but took a sleeve from one, a cape from another, a skirt 
from a third, thus decking himself out piecemeal, while 
some of his original rags would peep out from among his 
borrowed finery. 

There was a portly, rosy, well-fed parson, whom I ob- 
served ogling several moldy polemical writers through an 
eyeglass. He soon contrived to slij) on the voluminous 
mantle of one of the old fathers, and having purloined the 
gray beard of another, endeavored to look exceedingly wise; 
but the smirkiiig commonplace of his countenance set at 
naught all the trappings of wisdom. One sickly looking 
gentleman was busied embroidering a very flimsy garment 
with gold thread drawn out of several old court-dresses of 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Another had trimmed him- 
self magnificently from an illuminated manuscript, had 
stuck a nosegay in his bosom, culled from " The Paradise 
of Dainty Devices,^^ and having |)ut Sir Philip Sidney^s hat 
on one side of his head, strutted off with an exquisite air of 
vulgar elegance. A third, who was but of puny dimen- 
sions, had bolstered himself out bravely with the spoils from 
several obscure tracts of philosophy, so that he had a very 
imposing front, but he was lamentably tattered in rear,, 
and I perceived that he had patched his small-clothes with 
scraps of parchment from a Latin author. 

Thc'e were some well-dressed gentlemen, it is true, who 
only helped themselves to a gem or so, which sparkled 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFniKY CUAYON, GENT. 79 

among their oruamentS;, without eclij)sing them. Some, 
too, seemed to contemplate the costumes of the old writers, 
merely to imbibe their princij^les of tastes, and to catch their 
air and spirit; but I grieve to say, that too many were apt 
to array themselves, from top to toe, in the patch-work 
manner I have mentioned. I should not omit to speak of 
■one genius, in drab breeches and gaiters, and an Arcadian 
hat, who had a violent propensity to the pastoral, but whose 
rural wanderings had been confined to the classic haunts of 
Primrose Hill, and the solitudes of the Regent^ s Park. He 
had decked himself in wreaths and ribbons from all the old 
pastoral poets, and hanging his head on one side, went 
about with a fantastical, lackadaisical air, *'babbhng 
about green fields.^'' But the personage that most struck 
my attention, was a pragmatical old gentleman, hi clerical 
robes, with a remarkably large and square, but bald head. 
He entered the room wheezing and puffing, elbowed his way 
through the throng, with a look of sturdy self-confidence, 
and having laid hands upon a thick Greek quarto, clapped 
it upon his head, and swept majestically away in a formida- 
ble frizzled wig. 

In the height of this literary masquerade, a cry suddenly 
resounded from every side, of '^thieves! thieves!'^ I 
looked, audio! the portraits about the walls" became ani- 
mated! The old authors thrust out first a head, then a 
shoulder, from the canvas, looked down curiously, for an 
instant, upon the motley throng, and then descended, with 
fury in their eyes, to claim their rifled property. The scene 
of scampering and hubbub that ensued baffles all descrip- 
tion. The unhappy culprits endeavored iii vain to escape 
with their plunder. On one side might be seen half a dozen 
old monks, stripping a modern professor; on another, there 
was sad devastation carried into the ranks of modern 
dramatic writers. Beaumont and Fletcher, side by side, 
raged round the field like Castor and Pollux, and sturdy 
Ben Jonson enacted more wonders than when a volunteer 



80 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IKVING. 

with the army in Flanders. As to the dapper Httle com- 
piler of farragos, mentioned some time since, he had arrayed 
himself in as many patches and colors as Harlequin, and 
there was as fierce a contention of claimants abont him, as 
about the dead body of Patroclus. I was grieved to see 
many men, whom I had been accustomed to look upon with 
awe and reverence, fain to steal off with scarce a rag to 
cover their nakedness. Just then my eye was caught by 
the pragmatical old gentleman in the Greek grizzled wig> 
who was scrambling away in sore affright with half a score 
of authors in full cry after him. They were close upon his- 
haunches; in a twinkling off went his wig; at every turn 
some strip of raiment was peeled away; until in a few mo- 
ments, from his domineering |)om|), he shrunk into a little 
pursy, " chop|)M bald-shot,^^ and made his exit with only 
a few tags and rags fluttering at his back. 

There was something so ludicrous in the catastrophe of 
this learned Theban, that 1 burst into an immoderate fit of 
laughter, which broke the whole illusion. The tumult and 
the scuffle were at an end. The chamber resumed its usual 
appearance. ■ The old authors shrunk back into their pict- 
ure-frames, and hmig in shadowy solemnity along the walls. 
In short, I found myself wide awake in my corner, with 
the whole assemblage of bookworms gazing at me with as- 
tonishment, l^othing of the dream had been real but my 
burst of laughter, a sound never before heard in that grave 
sanctuary, and so abhorrent to the ears of wisdom, as to 
electrify the fraternity. 

The librarian now stepped up to me, and demanded 
whether I had a card of admission. At first I did not com- 
prehend him, but I soon found that the library was a kind 
of literary " preserve,^" subject to game laws, and that no 
one must presume to hunt there without special license and 
permission. In a word, I stood convicted of being an arrant 
poacher, and was glad to make a precipitate retreat, lest I 
should have a whole pack of authors let loose upon me. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CRAYON, GEXT. SI 



A ROYAL POET, 

Though your bod}^ be confined 

And soft love a prisoner bound, 
Yet the beauty of your mind 
Neither cheek nor chain hath found. 
Look out nobly, then, and dare 
Even the fetters that you wear. 

Fletcher. 

Ojs a soft sunny morning in the genial month of May, I 
made an excursion to Windsor Castle. It is a place full of 
storied and poetical associations. The very external aspect 
of the proud old pile is enough to inspire high thought. It 
rears its irregular walls and massive towers, like a mural 
crown around the brow of a lofty ridge, waves its royal ban- 
ner in the clouds, and looks down with a lordly air upon 
the surrounding world. 

On this morning, the weather was of tliis voluptuous 
vernal kind which calls forth all the latent romance of a 
man^s temperament, filling his mind with music, and dis- 
posing him to quote poetry and dream of beauty. In wan- 
dering through the magnificent saloons and long echoing 
galleries of the castle, I passed with indifference by whole 
rows of portraits of warriors and statesmen, but lingered in 
the chamber where hang the likenesses of the beauties thar 
graced the gay court of Charles the Second; and as I gazed 
upon them, depicted with amorous half -disheveled tresses, 
and the sleepy eye of love, I blessed the pencil of Sir Peter 
Lely, which had thus enabled me to bask in the reflected 
rays of beauty. In traversing also the ' ' large green courts,^ ^ 
with sunshine beaming on the gray walls and glancing 
along the velvet turf, my mind was engrossed with the 
image of the tender, the gallant, but hapless Surrey, and 



82 WOKKS OF WASHIiTGTOK IRVIls^G. 

his account of his loiterings about them in his striphng 
days^ when enamored of the Lady Geraldine — 

" With eyes cast up unto the maiden's tower, 
With easie sighs, sucli as men draw in love." 

In this mood of mere j^oetical susceptibiHty^ I visited the 
ancient keep of the castle, where James the First of Scot- 
land, the j)ride and theme of Scottish poets and historians, 
was for many years of his youth detained a prisoner of 
state. It is a large gray tower, that has stood the brunt 
of ages, and is still in good preservation. It stands on a 
mound which elevates it above the other parts of the castle, 
and a great flight of steps leads to the interior. In the 
armory, which is a Gothic hall, furnished with weaj^ons of 
various kinds and ages, I was shown a coat of armor hang- 
ing against the wall, which I was told had once belonged to 
James. From hence I was conducted up a staircase to a 
suite of apartments of faded magnificence, hung with 
storied tapestry, which formed his prison, and the scene of 
that j)assionate and fanciful amour, which has woven into 
the web of his story the magical hues of poetry and fiction. 

The whole history of this amiable but unfortmiate prince 
is highly romantic. At the tender age of eleven, he was 
sent from his home by his father, Eobert III. , and destined 
for the French court, to be reared under the eye of the 
French monarch, secure from the treachery and danger 
that surrounded the royal house of Scotland. It was his 
mishap, in the course of his voyage, to fall into the hands 
of the English, and he was detained a prisoner by Henry 
IV., notwithstanding that a truce existed between the two 
countries. 

The intelligence of his capture, coming in the train of 
many sorrows and disasters, proved fatal to his unhapj^y 
father. 

" The news,^^ we are told, " was brought to him while 
at supper, and did so overwhelm him with grief, that he 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 83 

was almost ready to give ujd tiie ghost into the hands of the 
servants that attended him. Bat being carried to his bed- 
chamber, he abstained from all food, and in three days died 
of hmiger and grief, at Eothesay.'^ * 

James was detained in captivity above eighteen years; 
but, though deprived of personal liberty, he was treated 
with the respect due to his rank. Care was taken to instruct 
him in all the branches of useful knowledge cultivat- 
ed at that period, and to give him those mental and jDcr- 
sonal accom]3lishments deemed j)ro23er for a j^i'ince. Per- 
haps in this respect, his imprisonment was an advantage, 
as it enabled him to apply himself the more exclusively to 
his improvement, and quietly to imbibe that rich fund of 
knowledge, and to cherish those elegant t§tstes^ which have 
given such a luster to his memory. The picture drawn of 
him in early life, by the Scottish historians, is highly capti- 
vating, and seems rather the description of a hero of ro- 
mance, than of a character in real history. He was well 
learned, we are told, ^' to Jfight with the sword, to joust, to 
tournay, to wrestle, to sing and dance; he was an expert 
mediciner, right crafty in playing both of lute and harp, 
and sundry other instruments of music, and was expert in 
grammar, oratory, and j^oetry.^^ f 

With this combination of manly and delicate accomplish- 
ments, fitting him to shine both in active and elegant life, 
and calculated to give him an intense relish for joyous ex- 
istence, it must have been a severe trial, in an age of bustle 
and chivalry, to^pass the sjoring-time of his years in monot- 
onous captivity. It was the good fortune of James, how- 
ever, to be gifted with a powerful poetic fancy, and to be 
visited in his prison by the choicest inspirations of the 
muse. Some minds corrode, and grow inactive, under the 
loss of personal liberty; others grow morbid and irritable; 
but it is the nature of the poet to become tender and imag- 

* Buchanan. f Bulleuden's translation of Ileclur Boyce. 



34 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

inative in the loneliness of confinement. He banquets upon 
the honey of his own thoughts^and^ like the captive bird;, 
pours forth his soul in melody. 

" Have you not seen the nightingale 
A pilgrim coop'd into a cage, 
How doth she chant her wonted tale, 
In that her lonely hermitage ! 

" Even there her charming melody doth prove 
That all her boughs are trees, her cage a grove." * 

Indeed;, it is the divine attribute of the imagination, that 
it is irrepressible, unconfinable; that when the real world 
is shut out, it can create a world for itself, and, with necro- 
mantic power, can conjure up glorious shapes and forms, 
and brilliant visions, to make solitude joo^^ulous, and irradi- 
ate the gloom of the dungeon. Such was the world of 
pomp and pageant that lived round Tasso in his dismal cell 
at Ferrara, when he conceived the splendid scenes of his 
Jerusalem; and we may conceive the " King^s Quair,^^ f 
composed by James during his captivity at Windsor, as 
another of those beautiful breakings forth of the soul from 
the restraint and gloom of the prison-house. 

The subject of his poem is his love for the Lady Jane 
Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, and a princess 
of the blood-royal of England, of whom he became enam- 
ored in the course of his caj)tivity. What gives it peculiar 
value, is, that it may be considered a transcript of the royal 
bard's true feelings, and the story of his real loves and fort- 
unes. It is not often that sovereigns write poetry, or that 
poets deal in fact. It is gratifying to the pride of a com- 
mon man, to find a monarch thus suing, as it were, for ad- 
mission into his closet, and seeking -to win his favor by ad- 
ministering to his pleasures. It is a proof of the honest 
equality of intellectual competition, which strips off all the 

* Roger L'Estrange. f Quair, an old term for book. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOJS", GENT. 85 

trappings of factitious dignity, brings the candidate down 
to a level with his fellow-men, and obliges him to depend 
on his own native {)Owers for distinction. It is curious, 
too, to get at the history of a monarch's heart, and to find 
the simple affections of human nature throbbing under the 
ermine. But James had learned to be a poet before he 
was a king; he was schooled in adversity, and reared in the 
company of his own thoughts. Monarchs have seldom 
time to parley with their hearts, or to meditate their minds 
into poetry; and had James been brought up amidst the 
adulation and gayety of a court, we should never, in all 
probability, have had such a poem as the Quair. 

I have been particularly interested by those parts of the 
poem which breathe his immediate thoughts concerning his 
situation, or which are connected with the apartment in the 
Tower. They have thus a personal and local charm, and 
are given with such circumstantial truth, as to make the 
reader present with the captive in his prison, and the com- 
j)anion of his meditations. 

Such is the account which he gives of his weariness of 
spirit, and of the incident tliat first suggested the idea of 
WTiting the poem. It was the still midwatch of a clear 
moonlight night; the stars, he says, were twinkling as the 
fire in the high vault of heaven, and " Cynthia rinsing her 
golden locks m Aquarius ;'' he lay in bed wakeful and rest- 
less, and took a book to beguile the tedious hours. The 
book he chose was Boetius' " Consolations of Philosophy/' 
a work popular among the writers of that day, and which 
had been translated by his great prototype Chaucer. From 
the high eulogium in which he indulges, it is evident this 
was one of his favorite volumes while in prison; and indeed, 
is it an admirable text-book for meditation under adversity. 
It is the legacy of a noble and enduring spirit, purified by 
sorrow and suffering, bequeathing to its successors in 
calamity the maxims of sweet morality, and the trains of 
eloquent but simple reasoning, by which it was enabled to 



bib WORKS OF WASHINGTOISr IRVI:N"G. 

bear up against the various ills of life. It is a talisman 
wliicli tlie unfortunate may treasure up in his bosom^ or^ 
like the good King James^ lay upon his nightly pillow. 

After closing the volume^ he turns its contents over in 
his mind, and gradually falls into a fit of musing on the 
fickleness of fortune^ the vicissitudes of his own life^ and 
the evils that had overtaken him even in his tender youth. 
Suddenly he hears the bell ringing to matinS;, but its sound 
chiming in with his melancholy fancies, seems to him hke 
a voice exhorting him to write his story. In the spirit of 
poetic errantry, he determines to comply with this intima- 
tion; he therefore takes pen in hand, makes with it a sign 
of the cross, to implore a benediction, and sallies forth into 
the fairy land of poetry. There is something extremely 
fanciful in all this, and it is interesting, as furnishing a 
striking and beautiful instance of the simple manner in 
which whole trains of |)oetical thought are sometimes awak- 
ened, and literary enterprises suggested to the mind. 

In the course of his poem, he more than once bewails the 
peculiar hardness of his fate, thus doomed to lonely and 
inactive life, and shut up from the freedom and pleasure 
of the world, in which the meanest animal indulges unre- 
strained. There is a sweetness, however, in his very com- 
plaints; they are the lamentations of an amiable and social 
sjDirit, at being denied the indulgence of its kind and gener- 
ous propensities; there is nothing in them harsh or exag- 
gerated; they flow with a natural and touching pathos, and 
are jDerhaps rendered more touching by their simple brev- 
ity. They contrast finely with those elaborate and iterated 
repinings which we sometimes meet with in poetry, the 
effusions of morbid minds, sickening under miseries of their 
own creating, and venting their bitterness upon an unoffend- 
ing world. James speaks of his privations with acute sen- 
sibility; but having mentioned them, passes on, as if his 
manly mind disdained to brood over unavoidable calami- 
ties. When such a spirit breaks forth into complaint, how- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CKAYOIs^, GENT. 87 

ever brief^ we are aware how great must be the suffering 
that extorts the murmur. We sympathize with James, a 
romantic, active, and accomplished j^rince, cut off in the 
histihood of youth from all the enterprise, the noble uses 
and vigorous delights of life, as we do with Milton, alive to 
all the beauties of nature and glories of art, when he 
breathes forth brief but deep-toned lamentations over his 
perpetual blindness. 

Had not James evinced a deficiency of poetic artifice, we 
might almost have suspected that these lowerings of gloomy 
reflection were meant as preparative to the brightest scene 
of his story, and to contrast with that effulgence of light 
and loveliness, that exhilarating accompaniment of bird 
and song, and foliage, and flower, and all the revel of the 
year, with which he ushers in the lady of his heart. It is 
this scene in particular which throws all the magic of 
romance about the old castle keep. He had risen, he says, 
at day-break, according to custom, to escajoe from the 
dreary meditations of a sleepless pillow. " Bewailing in 
his chamber thus alone,'' despairing of all joy and remedy, 
*' for, tired of thought, and woe-begone/' he had wandered 
to the window to indulge the captive's miserable Bola^e, of 
gazing wistfully upon the world from w' , ii exc^led. 
The window looked forth upon a small gctixv.4 whiclWay at 
the foot of the tower. It was a quiet, sheltered spot, 
adorned with arbors and green alleys, and j^i'otected from 
the passing gaze by trees and hawthorn hedges. 

" Now was there made fast by the tower's walk 

A garden faire, and in the corners set 
An arbour green with wandis long and small 

Railed about, and so with leaves beset 
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet 

That lyf * was none walkyng there forbye 

That might within scarce any wight espye. 

* LyJ, person. 

Note. — The language of the quotations is generally modernized. 



88 WORKS OF V/ASHINGTOK IRVING. 

" So thick the branches and the leves grene, 
Beshaded all the alleys that there were. 

And midst of every arbour might be seen, 
The sharpe, grene, swete jumper, 

Growing so faire with branches here and there. 
That as it seemed to a lyf without, 
The boughs did spread the arbour all about. 

And on the small green twistis * set 
The lytel swete nyghtingales, and sung 

So loud and clere, the hymnis consecrate 
Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among. 

That all the garden and the \N"allis rung 
Kyght of their song — " 

It was the month of May, when eyerything was in bloom> 
and he mterprets the song of the nightingale into the lan- 
guage of his enamored feeling : 

'•' Worship all ye that lovers be this May; 
For of your bliss the kalends are begun. 
And sing with us, away, winter, away. 
Come, summer, come, the sweet season and sun." 

As he gazes on the scene, and listens to the notes of the 
birds,, he gradually lapses into one of those tender and un- 
defiimblG. :l:e"in wliivwhich fill the youthful bosom in this 
deliciotj^ sea^^re is -He wonders what this love may be, of 
which he has so often read, and which thus seems breathed 
forth in the quickening breath of May, and melting all nat- 
ure into ecstasy and song. If it really be so great a felicity, 
and if it be a boon thus generally dispensed to the most in- 
significant of beings, why is he alone cut off from its enjoy- 
ments? 

" Oft would I think, O Lord, what may this be 
That love is of such noble myght and kynde? 
Loving his folk, and such prosperitee, 
Is it of him, as we in books do find; 
May he oure hertes set ten f and unbynd : 

^Twistis, small boughs or twigs. f Setten, incline. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFJIKY CRAYON, GENT. 89 

Hath he upon oure hertes such maistrye? 
Or is all this but fcynit fantasye? 

" For uif he be of so grete excellence 

That he of every wight hath care and charge, 
What have I gilt * to ^lim, or done offense, 
That I'm thral'd and birdis go at large?" 

In the midst of his musing, as he casts his eyes down- 
ward, he beholds " the fairest and the freshest young 
floure '' that ever he had seen. It is the lovely Lady Jane, 
walking in the garden to enjoy the beauty of that '' fresh 
May morrowe/' Breaking thus suddenly upon his sight in 
a moment of loneliness and excited susceptibility, she at 
once captivates the fancy of the romantic prince, and be- 
comes the object of his wandering wishes, the sovereign of 
his ideal world. 

There is in this charming scene an evident resemblance 
to the early part of Chaucer's '' Knight's Tale," where 
Palamon and Arcite fall in love with Emilia, whom they 
see walking in the garden of their prison. Perhaps the sim- 
ilarity of the actual fact to the incident which he had read 
in Chaucer may have induced James to dAvell on it in his 
poem. His description of the Lady Jane is given in the 
picturesque and minute manner of his master, and being, 
doubtless, taken from the life, is a 23erfect portrait of a 
beauty of that day. He dwells with the fondness of a lover 
on every article of her ap]7arel, from the net of i^carl, 
splendent with emeralds and saj^phires, that confined her 
golden hair, even to the '' goodly chaine of smaU orfev- 
erye^'t about her neck, whereby there hung a ruby in 
shape of a heart, that seemed, he says, like a spark of fire 
burning upon her white bosom. Her dress of white tissue 
was looped up to enable her to walk with more freedom. 
She was accompanied by two female attendants, and about 
her sported a little hound decorated with bells, probably the 

* Gilt, what injury have I done? etc. f Wrought gold. 



90 WORKS OE WASHIiTGIOi^ IRVING. 

small Italian liomid^ of exquisite symmetry^ which was sa 
parlor favorite and pet among the fashionable dames of an- 
cient times. James closes his description by a burst of gen- 
eral eulogium: 

" In her was youth, beauty with humble port, 
Bountee, richesse, and womanly feature, 
God better knows than my pen can report, 

Wisdom, largesse,* estate,f and cunning^ sure. 
In every point so guided her measure, 

In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance. 
That nature might no more her child advance." 

The departure of the Lady Jane from the garden puts ai.. 
end to this transient riot of the heart. With her departs 
the amorous illusion that had shed a temporary charm over 
the scene of his captivity, and he relapses into loneliness;, 
now rendered tenfold more intolerable by this passing beam 
of unattainable beauty. Through the long and weary day 
he repines at his unha|)py lot, and when evening approaches 
and Phoebus, as he beautifully expresses it, had " bad fare- 
well to every leaf and flower, ^^ he still lingers at the win- 
dow, and laying his head upon the cold stone, gives vent to 
a mingled flow of love and sorrow, until gradually lulled 
by the mute melancholy of the twilight hour, he lapses, 
^' half sleeping, half swoon, ^^ into a vision, which occupies 
the remainder of the poem, and in which is allegorically 
shadowed out the history of his passion. 

When he wakes from his trance, he rises from his stony 
pillow, and pacing his apartment full of dreary reflections, 
questions his spirit whither it has been wandering; whether, 
indeed, all that has passed before his dreaming fancy has 
been conjured up by preceding circumstances, or whether 
it is a vision intended to comfort and assure him in his de- 
spondency. If the latter, he prays that some token may 



bounty, f Estate, dignity. | Cunning, discretion. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY ClUYOX, GENT. 01 

be sent to confirm the promise of hapj^ier days, given liim 
in his slumbers. 

Suddenly a turtle-dove of the purest whiteness comes fly- 
ing in at the window, and alights upon his hand, bearing 
in her bill a branch of red gilliflower, on the leaves of which 
is written in letters of gold, the following sentence : 

" Awake! awake! I bring, lover, I bring, 
The newis glad, that blissful is and sure, 
Of thy comfort; now laugh, and play, and sing, 
For in the heaven discredit is thy cure." 

He receives the branch with mingled hope and dread ; 
reads it with rajDture, and this he says was the first token 
of his succeeding happiness. Whether this is a mere poetic 
fiction, or whether the Lady Jane did actually send him a 
token of her favor in this romantic way, remains to be de- 
termined according to the fate or fancy of the reader. He 
concludes his poem by intimating that the promise con- 
veyed in the vision and -by the flower, is fulfilled by his 
being restored to liberty, and made happy in the possession 
of the sovereign of his heart. 

Such is the poetical account given by James of his love 
adventures in Windsor Castle. How much of it is absolute 
fact, and how much the embellishment of fancy, it is fruit- 
less to conjecture; do not, however, let us always consider 
whatever is romantic as incompatible with real life, but let 
us sometimes take a poet at his word. I have noticed 
merely such parts of the poem as were immediately con- 
nected with the tower, and have passed over a large i:)art 
which was in the allegorical vein, so much cultivated at that 
day. ThaJanguage of course is quaint and antiquated, so 
that the beauty of many of its golden phrases will scarcely 
be perceived at the present day, but it is imj^ossible not to 
be charmed with the genuine sentiment, the delightful art- 
lessness and urbanity, which prevail throughout it. The 
(descriptions of Nature, too, with which it is embellished^ 



92 WORKS OF VrASHIXGTOi^T IRVIKG. 

are given with a truths a discrimination^ and a freshness, 
worthy of the most cultivated period of the arts. 

As an amatory poem, it is edifying, in these days of 
coarser thinking, to notice the nature, refinement, and ex- 
quisite dehcacy which pervade it, banishing every gross 
thought, or immodest expression, and presenting female 
loveliness clothed in all its chivalrous attributes of almost 
sujDernatural purity and grace. 

James flourished nearly about the time of Chaucer and 
Gower, and was evidently an admirer and studier of their 
writings. Indeed, in one of his stanzas he acknowledges 
them as his masters, and in some parts of his poem we find 
traces of similarity to their productions, more especially to 
those of Chaucer. There are always, however, general feat- 
ures of resemblance in the works of contemporary authors, 
wliich are not so much borrowed from each other as from 
the times. Writers, like bees, toll their sweets in the wide 
world; they incorjDorate with their own conceptions, the 
anecdotes and thoughts which are current in society, and 
thus each generation has some features in common, char- 
acteristic of the age in which it lives. James in fact be- 
longs to one of the most brilliant eras of our literary history, 
and establishes the claims of his .country to a participation 
in its primitive honors. Whilst a small cluster of English 
writers are constantly cited as the fathers of our verse, the 
name of their great Scottish compeer is apt to be passed 
over in silence; but he is evidently worthy of being enrolled 
in that little constellation of remote, but never-failing 
luminaries, who shine in the highest firmament of litera- 
ture, and who, like morning stars, sung together at the 
bright dawning of British poesy. 

Such of my readers as may not be familiar with Scottish 
history (though the manner in which it has of late been 
woven with captivating fiction has made it a universal 
study), may be curious to learn somethmg of the subsequent 
history of James, and the fortunes of his love. His passion 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOIS', GENT. 95 

for the LacTy Jane, as it was the solace of his caj^tivity, so 
it facilitated his release, it being imagined by the Court, 
that a connection with the blood-royal of England would 
attach him to its own interests. He was ultimately restored 
to his hberty and crown, having previously espoused the 
Lady Jane, who accompanied him to Scotland, and made 
him a most tender and devoted wife. 

He found his kingdom in great confusion, the feudal 
chieftains having taken atlvantage of the troubles and 
irregularities of a long interregnum, to strengthen them- 
selves in their possessions, and place themselves above the 
power of the laws. James sought to found the basis of his 
powei in the affections of his people. He attached the 
lower orders to him by the reformation of abuses, the tem- 
perate and equable administration of justice, the encour- 
agement of the arts of jDcace, and the promotion of every- 
thing that could diffuse comfort, competency, and innocent 
enjoyment, through the humblest ranks of society. He 
mingled occasionally among the common people in disguise; 
visited their firesides; entered into their cares, their pur- 
suits, and their amusements; informed himself of the 
mechanical arts, and how they could best be 23atronized and 
improved; and was thus an all-pervading sj^irit, watching 
with a benevolent eye over the meanest of his subjects. 
Having in this generous manner made himself strong in 
the hearts of the common people, he turned himself to curb 
the power of the factious nobility; to strip them of those 
dangerous immunities which they had usurped; to punish 
such as had been guilty of flagrant offenses; and to bring 
the whole into proper obedience to the crown. For some 
time they bore this with outward submission, but with 
secret impatience and brooding resentment. A conspiracy 
was at length formed against his life, at the head of which 
was his own uncle, Robert Stewart, Earl of Athol, who, 
being too old himself fol* the perpetration of the deed of 
blood, instigated his grandson. Sir Robert Stewart, together 



S4 WORKS OF WASHINGTO^^ IRVIKG. 

i^ith Sir Robert Graham, and others of less note, to commit 
tlie deed. They broke into his bed-chamber at the Domini- 
can convent near Perth, where he was residing, and bar- 
barously murdered him by oft-repeated wounds. His faith- 
ful queen, rushing to throw her tender body between him 
and the sword, was twice wounded in the ineffectual at- 
tempt to sliield him from the assassin; and it was not until 
she had been forcibly torn from his person, that the mur- 
der was accomplished. 

It was the recollection of this romantic tale of former 
times, and of the golden little poem, which had its birth- 
place in this tower, that made me visit the old pile with 
more than common interest. The suit of armor hanging 
lip in the hall, richly gilded and embellished, as if to fig- 
ure in the tourney, brought the image of the gallant and 
Tom antic prince vividly before my imagination. I paced 
the deserted chambers where he had composed his ]3oem; I 
leaned upon the window, and endeavored to persuade my- 
self it was the very one where he had been visited by his 
vision; I looked out upon the spot where he had first seen 
the Lady Jane. It was the same genial and joyous month : 
the birds were again vying with each other in strains of 
liquid melody: everything was bursting into vegetation, 
and budding forth the tender promise of the year. Time, 
which delights to obliterate the sterner memorials of human 
pride, seems to have passed lightly over this little scene of 
poetry and love, and to have withheld his desolating hand. 
Several centuries have gone by, yet the garden still flour- 
ishes at the foot of the tower. It occu]3ies what v/as once 
the moat of the keep, and though some parts have been 
separated by dividing walls, yet others have still their arbors 
and shaded walks, as in the days of James; and the whole 
is sheltered, blooming, and retired. There is a charm about 
the spot that has been printed by the footsteps of departed 
beauty, and consecrated by the ' inspirations of the poet, 
which is heightened, rather than impaired, by the lapse of 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRA.YON, GENT. 95 

ages. It is, indeed, the gift of poetry, to hallow every 
place in which it moves; to breathe round nature an odor 
more exquisite than the perfume of the rose, and to sjied. 
over it a tint more maeical than the blush of mornins:. 

Others may dwell on the illustrious deeds of James as a 
waiTior and a legislator; but I have delighted to view him 
merely as the com^^anion of his fellow-men, the benefactor 
of the human heart, stooping from his high estate to sow 
the sweet flowers of poetry and song in the paths of com- 
mon life. He was the first to cultivate the vigorous and 
hardly i3lant of Scottish genius, which has since been so pro- 
lific of the most wholesome and highly flavored fruit. He 
carried with him into the sterner regions of the north all 
the fertilizing arts of southern refinement. He did every- 
thing in his j)Ower to 'win his countrymen to the gay, the 
elegant, and gentle arts which soften and refine the char- 
acter of a people, and wreathe a grace round the loftiness 
of a proud and warlike spirit. He wrote many poems, 
which, unfortunately for the fullness of his fame, are now 
lost to the world; one, which is still preserved, called 
'" Christ^ s Kirk of the Green, ^^ shows how diligently he 
had made himself acquainted with the rustic sjjorts and pas- 
times, which constitute such a source of kmd and social 
feeling among the Scottish peasantry; and with what sim- 
ple and hajDpy humor he could enter into their en joyments> 
He contributed greatly to improve the national music; and 
traces of his tender sentiment and elegant taste are said to 
exist in those witching airs, still piped among the wild 
mountains and lonely glens of Scotland. He has thus con- 
nected his image with whatever is most gracious and en- 
dearing in the national character; he has embalmed his 
memory in song, and floated his name down to after-ages 
in the rich stream of Scottish melody. The recollection of 
these things was kindling at my heart, as I paced the silent 
scene of his imprisonment. I have visited Vaucluse with, 
as much enthusiasm as a j^ilgrim would visit the shrine at 



96 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IKVING. 

Loretto; but I have never felt more poetical devotion than 
when contemplating the old tower and the little garden at 
Windsor, and' musing over the romantic loves of the Lady 
Jane, and the Eoyal Poet of Scotland. 



THE COUNTRY CHURCH. 

A gentleman ! 
What o' the woolpack? or the sugar-chest? 
Or lists of velvet? wliich is't, pound, or yard, 
You vend your gentry by? 

Beggar's Bush. 

There are few places more favorable to the study of 
character, than an English country church. I was once 
passing a few weeks at the seat of a .friend, who resided in 
the vicinity of one, the appearance of which particularly 
struck my fancy. It was one of those rich morsels of 
quaint aiitiquity, which gives such a ]3eculiar charm to En- 
glish landscajDC. It stood in the midst of a country filled 
with ancient families, and contained, within its cold and 
silent aisles, the congregated dust of many noble genera- 
tions. The interior walls were in crusted with monuments 
of every age and style. The light streamed through win- 
dows dimmed mth armorial bearings, richly emblazoned in 
stained glass. In various parts of the church were tombs 
of knights, and high-born dames, of gorgeous workman- 
ship, with their effigies in colored marble. On every side, 
the eye was struck with some instance of aspiring mortality; 
some haughty memorial which human pride had erected 
over its kindred dust, in this temple of the most humble of 
all religions. 

The congregation was comj)osed of the neighboring peo- 
ple of rank, who sat in pews sumptuously lined and cush- 
ioned, furnished with richly gilded prayer-books, and decor- 
ated v>-icli their arms upon the p)ew doors; of the villagers 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFRKY "CRAYON, GENT. 97 

■and peasantry who filled the back seats, and a small gallery 
'beside the organ; and of the poor of the parish, who were 
i*anged on benches in the aisles. 

The service was performed by a snuffling, well-fed vicar, 
i^^ho had a snug dwelling near the church. He was a i^rivi- 
leged guest at all the tables of the neighborhood, and had 
been the keenest fox-hunter in the country, until age and 
;good living had disabled him from doing anything more 
than ride to see the homids throw off, and make one at the 
liunting dinner. 

LTnder the ministry of such a 2:>astor, I found it imi^ossi- 
ble to get into the train of thought suitable to the time and 
place; so having, like many other feeble Christians, com- 
promised with my conscience, by laying the sin of my own 
deli]iqueney at another person^ s threshold, I occupied my- 
self by making observations on my neighbors. 

I was as yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice 
the manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, 
that there was the least pretension where thei-e was the 
most acknowledged title to respect. I was ])articularly 
struck, for instance, with the family of a nobleman of high 
rank, consisting of several sons and daughters. ISTothing 
could be more simple and unassuming than their appear- 
a-nce. They generally came to church in the plainest 
equipage and often on foot. The young ladies would stojD 
and converse in the kindest manner with the peasantry, 
caress the children, and listen to the stories of the^ humble 
cottagers. Their countenances were open and beautifully 
iair, with an expression of high refinement, but at the same 
time, a frank cheerfulness, and engaging affability. Their 
brothers were tall, and elegantly formed. They were 
dressed fashionably, but simply; with strict neatness and 
propriety, but without any mannerism or foppishness. 
Their whole demeanor was easy and natural, with that lofty 
grace, ancf noble frankness, which bespeak free-born souls 
that have never been checked in their growth by feelmgs 



98 ^VOKKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

of inferiority. There is a liealthfiil hardiness about real 
dignity, that never dreads contact and communion with 
others, however humble. It is only spurious pride that* is 
morbid and sensitive, and shrinks from every touch. I 
was 23leased to see the manner in which they would con- 
verse with the peasantry about those rural concerns and 
field sports, in which the gentlemen of the comitry so much 
delight. In these conversations, there was neither haughti- 
ness on the one j^art, nor servility on the other; and yon 
were only reminded of the difference of rank by the habitual 
resj^ect of the j^easant. 

In contrast to these, was the family of a wealthy citizen^, 
who had amassed a vast fortune, and having purchased the 
estate and mansion of a ruined nobleman in the neighbor- 
hood, was endeavoring to assume all the style and dignity 
of a hereditary lord of the soil. The family always came 
to church en prince. They were rolled majestically along 
in a carriage emblazoned with arms. The crest glittered 
in silver radiance from every part of the harness where a 
crest could possibly be placed^ A fat coachman in a three- 
cornered hat, richly laced, and a flaxen wig, curKng close 
round his rosy face, was seated on the box, with a sleek 
Danish dog beside him. Two footmen in gorgeous liveries, 
with huge bouquets, and gold-headed canes, lolled behind. 
Tlie carriage rose and sunk on its long springs with a 
peculiar stateliness of motion. The very horses chamjDcd 
their bits, arched their necks, and glanced their eyes more 
proudly than common horses; either because thej?- had got 
a little of the family feeling, or were reined up more tightly 
than ordinary. 

I could not but admire the style with which this splendid 
pageant was brought up to the gate of the church-yard. 
There was a vast effect produced at the turning of an angle 
of the wall; a great smacking of the whip; straining and 
scrambling of the horses; glistening of harness, and flash- 
ing of wheels through gravel. This was the moment of tri~ \ 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 99 

umpli and vainglory to the coachman. The horses were 
arged and checked, until they were fretted into a foam. 
*rhey threw out their feet in a prancing trot, dashing about 
pebbles at every stej). The crowd of villagers sauntering 
quietly to church, opened precipitately to the right and 
left, gaping in vacant admiration. On reaching the gate, 
the horses were pulled up with a suddenness that produced 
an immediate stop, and almost threw them on their 
Jiaunches. 

There was an extraordinary hurry of the footmen to 
alight, open the door, pull down the steps, and prepare 
everything for the descent on earth of this august famil}^ 
The old citizen first emerged his round red face from out 
the door, looking about him with the pom230us air of a man 
accustomed to ride on 'change, and shake the stock-mar- 
ket with a nod. His consort, a fine, fleshy, comfortable 
dame, followed him. There seemed, I must confess, but^ 
little pride in her composition. She was the picture of 
fcroad, honest, vulgar enjoyment. The w^orld went well 
with her; and she liked the world. She had fine clothes, a 
fine house, a fine carriage, fine children, everything was 
fine about her: it was nothing but driving about and visit- 
ing and feasting. Life was to her a perpetual revel; it w^as 
one long Lord Mayor^'s day. 

Two daughtm-s succeeded to this goodly couple. They 
certainly were handsome; but had a supercilious air that 
chilled admiration, and disposed the spectator to be critical. 
They were ultra-fashionables in dress, and, though no one 
Icould deny the richness of their decorations, yet their ap- 
ipropriateness might be questioned amidst the simplicity of 
a country church. They descended loftily from the car- 
riage, and moved up the line of peasantry with a step that 
Iseemed dainty of the soil it trod on. They cast an excur- 
sive glance around, that j^assed coldly over the burly faces 
jOf the peasantry, until they met the eyes of the nobleman's 
family, when their countenances immediately brightened 



100 WORKS OF WASHIN-GTON" IRVIIsTG. 

into smiles^ and tliey made the most profound and elegant 
courtesies^ wliicli were returned in a manner that showed 
they were but slight acquaintances. 

I must not forget the two sons of this aspiring citizen^. 
who came to church in a dashing curricle^ with outriders.. 
They were arrayed in the extremity of the mode^ with all 
that pedantry of dress which marks the man of questiona- 
ble pretensions to style. They kept entirely by themselves^ 
eying every one askance that came near them^ as if meas- 
uring his claims to respectability; yet they were without, 
conversation, except the exchange of an occasional phrase. 
They even moved artificially, for their bodies, in compHance 
with the cajDrice of the day, had been disciplined into the 
absence of all ease and freedom. Art had done everything 
to accomplish them as men of fashion, but nature had de- 
nied them the nameless grace. They were vulgarly shaped, 
like men formed for the common purposes of life, and had 
that air of sujoercilious assumption which is never seen in 
the true gentleman. 

I have been rather minute in drawing the 23ictures of 
these two families, because I considered them specimens of 
what is often to be met with in this country: the impre- 
tending great, and the arrogant little. I have no respect 
for titled rank, unless it be accompanied by true nobility 
of soul; but I have remarked, in all countpies where these 
artificial distinctions exist, that the very highest classes are 
always the most courteous and unassuming. Those who 
are well assured of their own standing, are least a^Dt to tres- 
pass on that of others: whereas, nothing is so offensive as 
the aspirings of vulgarity, which thinks to elevate itself by 
humiliating its neighbor. 

As I have brought these families into contrast, I must 
notice their behavior in church. That of the nobleman^ b 
family was quiet, serious, and attentive. Not that they ap- 
joeared to have any fervor of devotion, but rather a respect 
for sacred things, and sacred places^ inseparable from good 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 101 

breeding. The others, on the contrary, were in a perjDctual 
flutter and whisper; they betrayed a continual conscious- 
ness of finery, and the sorry ambition of being the wonders 
of a rural congregation. 

The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to 
the service. He took the whole burden of family devotion 
upon himself; standing bolt upright, and uttering the re- 
sponses with a loud voice that might be heard all over the 
church. It was evident that he was one of these thorough 
church and king men, who connect the idea of devotion 
and loyalty; who consider the Deity, somehow or other, of 
the government part}^, and religion '' a very excellent sort 
of thing, that ought to be countenanced and ke23t up.^^ 

When he joined so loudly in the service, it seemed more 
by way of example to the lower orders, to show them, that 
though so great and wealthy, he was not above being re- 
ligious; as I have seen a turtle-fed alderman swallow ^Dub- 
licly a basin of charity soup, sniaclving his lijDS at every 
mouthful, and pronouncing it " excellent food for the 
jDOor.^^ 

When the service was at an end, I was curious to witness 
the several exits of my groups. The young noblemen and 
their sisters, as the day was fine, j)referred strolling home 
across the fields, chatting with the country people as they 
went. The others departed as they came, in grand parade. 
Again were the equipages wheeled up to the gate. There 
was again the smacking of whips, the clattering of hoofs,, 
and the glittering of harness. The horses started oif almost 
at a bound; the villagers again hurried to right and left: 
the wheels threw up a cloud of dust, and the aspiring family 
was wrapped out of sight in a whirlwind. 



102 WOEKS OF WASHIKGTOX IETII:^G. 



THE WIDOW AND HER 8 ON. 

Pittie olde age, within whose silver haires 
Honour and reverence evermore have raign'd. 

Marlowe's Tamhurlmne. 

During my residence in the country, I used frequently 
to attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aisles, its 
aiioldering monuments, its dark oaken paneling, all rever- 
end with the gloom of departed years, seemed to fit it for 
the- haunt of solemn meditation. A Sunday, too, in the 
country, is so holy in its repose, such a pensive quiet reigns 
over the face of l^ature, that every restless passion is 
charmed dow^n, and we feel all the natural religion of the 
soul gently springing uj) within us. 

" Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright, 
The bridal of the eartli and sky!" 

I can not lay claim to the merit of being a devout man; 
but there are feelings that visit me in a country church, 
amid the beautiful serenity of 'ISTature, v/hich I experience 
nowhere else; and if not a more religious, think I am a bet- 
ter man on Sunday, than on any other day of the seven. 

But in this church I felt myself continually thrown back 
upon the world, by the frigidity and pomp of the poor 
worms around me. The only being that seemed thorough- 
ly to feel the humble and prostrate piety of a trtie Chris- 
tian, was a poor decrepit old woman, bending under the 
v/eight of years and infirmities. She bore the traces of ' 
something better than abject poverty. The lingerings of' 
decent j^ride were visible in her appearance. Her dress, 
though humble in the extreme, was scrupulously clean. 
Some trivial respect, too, had been awarded her, for she 
did not take her seat among the village poor, but sat alone 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON^ GENT. lu^ 

on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have survived all 
love, all friendship, all society; and to have nothing loft 
her but the hopes of heaven. When I saw her feebly rising 
and bending her aged form in prayer; habitually conning 
her prayer-book, which her palsied hand and failing eyes 
could not permit her to read, but which she evidently knew 
by heart; I felt persuaded that the faltering voice of that 
j)oor woman arose to heaven far before the resjjonses of the 
clerk, the swell of the organ, or the chanting of the choir. 

I am fond of loitering about country churches; and this 
was so delightfully situated, that it frequently attracted 
me. It stood on a knoll, round which a small stream made 
a beautiful bend, and then wound its way through a long- 
reach of soft meadow scenery. The church was surround- 
ed by yew-trees, which seemed almost coeval with itselfT 
Its tall Gothic spire shot up lightly from among them, with 
rooks and crows generally wheeling about it. I was seated 
there one still sunny morning, watching two laborers who 
were digging a grave. They had chosen one of the most 
remote and neglected corners of the church-yard, where, by 
the number of nameless graves around, it would appear 
that the indigent and friendless were huddled into the earth. 
I was told that the new-made grave was for the only son of 
a poor widow. While I was meditating on the distinctions 
of worldly rank, which extend thus down into the very 
dust, the toll of the bell announced the approacli of the 
funeral. They were the obsequies of poverty, with which 
pride had nothing to do. A coffin of the plainest materials, 
without pall or other covernig, was borne by some of the 
villagers. The sexton walked before with an air of cold 
indifference. There were no mock mourners in the trap- 
pings of affected woe, but there was one real mourner who 
feebly tottered after the corpse. It was the aged mother of 
the deceased, the poor old woman whom I had seen seated 
on the steps of the altar. She was supported by an humble 
friend, who was endeavoring to comfort her. A few of the 



104 WORKS OF WASHINGTOI^ IRYIKG. 

neighboring poor had joined the train^ and some children 
of the village were running hand in hand^, now shouting 
with unthinking mirth^ and now i^ausing to gaze^ with 
childish curiosity^ on the grief of the mourner. 

As the funeral train approached the grave, the parson 
issued from the church porch^ arrayed in the surphce^ with 
prayer-book in hand, and attended by the clerk. The serv- 
ice, however, was a mere act of charity. The deceased had 
been destitute, and the survivor was penniless. It was 
shuffled through, therefore, in form, but coldly and unfeel- 
ingly. The well-fed priest moved but a few stejjs from the 
I'hurch door; his voice could scarcely be heard at the grave; 
and never did I hear the funeral service, that sublime and 
touching ceremony, turned into such a frigid mummery of 
words. 

I approached the grave. The coffin was placed -on the 
ground. On it were inscribed the name and age of the de- 
ceased: "George Somers, aged 26 years.'''' The poor 
mother had been assisted to kneel down at the head of it. 
Her withered hands were clasped, as if in prayer; but I 
could perceive, by a feeble rocking of the body, and a con- 
vulsive motion of the lijos, that she was gazing on the last 
relics of her son with the yearnings of a mother^ s heart. 

Prej)arations were made to deposit the coffin in the earth. 
There was that bustling stir, which breaks so harshly on 
the feelings of grief and aifection : directions given in the 
cold tones of business; the striking of spades into sand and 
gravel; which, at the grave of those we love, is of all sounds 
the most withering. The bustle around seemed to waken 
the mother from a wretched reverie. She raised her glazed 
eyes, and looked about with a faint wildness. As the men 
ap23roached with cords to lower the coffin into the grave, 
she wrung her hands, and broke into an agony of grief. 
The poor woman who attended her, took her by the arm, 
endeavoring to raise her from the earth, and to whisj^er 
something like consolation: " ^s"ay, nov\"; nay now; don^t 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOX, GEXT. 105 

take it so sorely to heart/^ She could only shake her head, 
and wring her hands, as one not to be comforted. 

As they lowered the body into the earth, the creaking of 
the cords seemed to agonize her; but when, on some acci- 
dental obstruction, there was a jostling of the coffin, all the 
tenderness of the mother burst forth; as if any harm could 
come to him who was far beyond the reach of worldly suf- 
fering. 

I could see no more, my heart swelled into my throat, 
my eyes filled with tears, I felt as if I were acting a barbar- 
ous part in standing by and gazing idly on this scene of 
maternal anguish. I wandered to another part of the 
church-yard, where I remained until the funeral train had 
dispersed. 

When I saw the mother slowly and painfully quitting the 
grave, leaving, behind her the remains of all that was dear 
to her on earth, and returning to silence and destitution, 
my heart ached for her. What, thought I, are the dis- 
tresses of the rich? They have friends to soothe, j^leasures 
to beguile, a .world to divert and dissipate their griefs. 
'\Vhat are the sorrows of the young? Their growing minds 
soon close above the wound, their elastic spirits soon rise 
beneath the pressure, their green and ductile affections 
soon twine around new objects. But the • sorrows of the 
poor, who have no outward aj^pliances to soothe; the sor- 
rows of the aged, with whom life at best is but a wintery 
day, and who can look for no after-growth of joy; the sor- 
rows of a widow, aged, solitary, destitute, mourning over 
an only son, the last solace of her years; these are indeed 
sorrows which make us feel the impotency of consolation. 

It was some time before I left the church-yard. On my 
wayliomeward, I met with the woman who had acted as 
comforter: she was just returning from accompanpng the 
mother to her lonely habitation, and I drew from her some 
particulars connected with the affecting scene I had wit- 
nessed. 



106 woKKS OF washingto:n" IRYIiq-G. 

The parents of the deceased had resided in the village 
irom childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest 
cottages^ and by various rural occupations, and the assist- 
ance of a small garden, had supported themselves credita- 
bly and comfortably, and led a happy and a blameless life. 
They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and 
pride of their age. " Oh, sir!^^ said the good woman, 
^^ he was such a comely lad, so sweet-tempered, so kind to 
every one around him, so dutiful to his parents! It did 
oner's heart good to see him of a Sunday, dressed out in his 
best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old 
mother to church, for she was always fonder of leaning on 
George^ s arm, than on her good man^s; and, poor soul, she 
might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not 
in the country round.''' 

Unfortmiately, the son was tempted, during a year of 
scarcity and agricultural hardship, to enter into the service 
of one of the small craft that plied on a neighboring river. 
He had not been long in this employ, when he was en- 
trapped by a press-gang, and carried off to sea. His par- 
ents received tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they 
could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. 
The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and 
melancholy, and sunk into his grave. The widow, left 
lonely in her age and feebleness, could no longer support 
herself, and came upon the parish. Still there was a kind 
of feeling toward her throughout the village, and a certain 
respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one 
applied for the cottage in which she had passed s& many 
liap|)y days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she 
lived solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nat- 
ure were chiefly supplied from the scanty productions of 
her little garden, which the neighbors would now and then 
cultivate for her. It was but a few days before the time at 
which these circumstances were tolcl me, that she was gath- 

'^g some vegetables for her repast, when she heard the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 107 

cottage-door which faced the garden suddenly oioened. A 
stranger came out^ and seemed to Be looking eagerly and 
wildly around. He was dressed in seaman's clothes, and 
was emaciated and ghastly jDale, and bore the air of one 
broken by sickness and hardshij^s. He saw her, and has- 
tened toward her, but his steps were faint and faltering; he 
sunk on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The 
poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering 
eye: " Oh, my dear, dear mother! don't you kiiow your 
son? your poor boy George?'' It was, indeed, the wreck 
of her once noble lad; who, shattered by wounds, by sick- 
ness, and foreign imprisonment, had, at length, dragged 
his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of 
his childhood. 

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meet- 
ing, where sorrow and joy were so completely blended : still 
he w^as alive ! he was come home ! he might yet live to com- 
fort and cherish her old age! Nature, however, was ex- 
hausted in him; and if anything had been wanting to finish 
the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would 
have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet 
on which his widowed mother had. passed many a sleepless 
night, and he never rose from it again. 

The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had 
returned, crowded to see him, oifering every comfort and 
assistance that their humble means afforded. He was too 
weak, however, to talk; he could only look his thanks. 
His mother was his constant attendant; and he seemed un- 
willing to be helped by any other hand. 

There is something in sickness t hat breaks down the 
pride of manhood; that softens the heart, and brings it 
back to the feelings of infancy. Who that has languished, 
even in advanced life, in sickness and despondency; who that 
has pined on a weary bed in the neglect and loneliness of a 
foreign land, but has thought on the mother " that looked 
on his childhood," that smoothed his pillow, and adminis- 



tered to liis helplessness? Oh! there is an enduring ten- 
derness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all 
other affections of the heart. It is neither to be chilled by 
selfishness^ nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worth- 
lessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every 
comfort to his convenience ; she wdll surrender every pleas- 
ure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult 
in his prosperity; and, if misfortune overtake him, he will 
be the dearer to her from misfortune; and if disgrace set- 
tle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him in 
spite of his disgrace; and if all the world beside cast him 
oif, she will be all the world to him. 

Poor George Somers had known what it was to be in sick- 
ness, and none to soothe; lonely and in j)rison, and none to 
visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight; 
if she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would 
sit for hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Some- 
times he would start from a feverish dream, and looking 
anxiously U23 until he saw her bending over him, when he 
would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall asleep 
with the tranquillity of a child. In this way he died. 

My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of affliction, 
was to visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer 
pecuniary assistance, and, if joossible, comfort. I found, 
however, on inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers 
had prompted them to do everything that the case ad- 
mitted; and as the poor know best how to console each 
other^s sorrows, I did not venture to intrude. 

The next Sunday I was at the village church; when, to 
my surprise, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the 
aisle to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar. 

She had made an effort to put on something like mourn- 
ing for her son; and nothing could be more touching than 
this struggle between pious affection and utter j)overty: a 
black ribbon or so, a faded black. handkerchief, and one or 
two more such humble attempts to express by outward signs 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 109 

that grief which jDasses show. When I looked round upon 
the storied monuments, the stately hatchments, the cold 
marble pomp, with which grandeur mourned magnificently 
<Dver departed pride, and turned to this poor widow, bowed 
down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and offer- 
ing up the prayers and praises of a pious, though a broken 
heart, I felt that this living monument of real grief was 
worth them all. 

I related her story to some of the wealthy members of 
the congregation, and they were moved by it. They exert- 
^1 themselves to render her situation more comfortable, 
and to hghten her afflictions. It was, however, but smooth- 
ing a few steps to the grave. In the course of a Sunday or 
two after, she was missed from her usual seat at church, 
and before I left the neighborhood, I heard, with a feeling 
of satisfaction, that she had quietly breathed her last, and 
had gone to rejoin those she loved, in that world where sor- 
row is never known, and friends are never parted. 



THE BOARS HEAD TAVERN, EASTCHEAP. 

A SHAKESPEREAK RESEARCH. 

" A tavern is the rendezvous, the exchange, the staple of good fel- 
lows. I have heard my great-grandfather tell, how his great-great- 
grandfather should say, that it was an old proverb when his great- 
grandfather was a child, that ' it was a good wind that blew a man 
to the wine.'" — Mother BomMe." 

It is a pious custom, in some Catholic countries, to honor 
the memory of saints, by votive lights burned before their 
pictures. The popularity of a saint, therefore, may be 
known by the number of these offerings. One, perhaps, 
; is left to molder in the darkness of his little chapel; another 
may have a solitary lamp to throw its blinking rays athwart 
his effigy; while the whole blaze of adoration is lavished 



110 WOiUvS OF WASHIi^GTON" IRVING. 

at the slirine of some beatified father of renown. The' 
wealthy devotee brings his huge luminary of wax; the eager 
zealot^ his seven -branched candlestick; and even the mendi- 
cant pilgrim is by no means satisfied that sufficient light is^' 
thrown upon the deceased^ unless he hangs up his little 
lamp of smoking oil. The consequence is^ in the eagerness: 
to enlighten, they are often apt to obscure; and I have oc- 
casionally seen an unlucky saint almost smoked out of coun- 
tenance by the officiousness of his followers. | 
In like manner has it fared with the immortal Shake- 
speare. Every writer considers it his bounden duty, to light 
up some portion of his character or works, and to rescue 
some merit from oblivion. The commentator, opulent in ' 
words, produces vast tomes of dissertations; the common - 
herd of editors send up mists of obscurity from their notes' 
at the bottom of each page; and every casual scribbler i 
brings his farthing rushlight of eulogy or research, to swelL' 
the cloud of incense and of smoke. j 
As I honor all established usages of my brethren of the' 
quill, I thought it but joroper to contribute my mite of hom- 
age to the memory of the illustrious bard. I was for some 
time, however, sorely puzzled in what way I should dis- 
charge this duty. I found myself anticipated in every at- 
tempt at a new reading; every doubtful line had been ex- 
plained a dozen different ways, and perplexed beyond the 
reach of elucidation; and as to fine passages, they had all 
been amply praised by previous admirers : nay, so com- 
pletely had the bard, of late, been overlarded vfith pane- 
gyric by a great German critic, that it was difficult now to 
find even a fault that had not been argued into a beauty. 

In this perplexity, I was one morning turning over his^ . 
pages, when I casually opened upon the comic scenes of 
Henry TV., and was, in a moment, completely lost in the 
madcap revelry of the Boards Head Tavern. So vividh 
and naturally are these scenes of humor depicted, and with 
such force and consistency are the characters sustained 



II 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GKOFFREY CllAYOX, GENT. Ill 

that they become mingled up in the mind with the facts 
and personages of real Hfe. To few readers does it occur 
tlmt these are all ideal creations of a poet's brain, and that, 
in sober truth, no such knot of merry roisterers ever enliv- 
ened the dull neighborhood of Eastcheap. 

For my part, I love to give myself up to the illusions of 
poetry. A hero of fiction that never existed, is just as 
valuable to me as a hero ol history that existed a thousand 
years since : and, if I may be excused such an insensibility 
to the common ties of human nature, I would not give up 
fat Jack for half the great men of ancient chronicle. "What 
have the heroes of yore done for me, or men like me? 
They have conquered countries of which I do not enjoy an 
acre; or they have gained laurels of which I do not inherit 
a leaf; or they have furnished examples of hare-brained 
prowess, which I have neither the opportunity nor the in- 
clination to follow. But old Jack Falstaif ! kind Jack Fal- 
staff ! sweet Jack Falstaff ! has enlarged the boundaries of 
human enjoyment; he has added vast regions of wit and 
good -humor, in which the poorest man may revel; and has 
bequeathed a never-failing inheritance of jolly laughter, to 
make mankind merrier and better to the latest posterity. 

A thought suddenly struck me: '^ I will make a pilgrim- 
age to Eastcheap,^' said I, closing the book, '^ and see if 
the old Board's Head Tavern still exists. AVho knows but I 
may light upon some legendary traces of Dame Quickly 
and her guests; at any rate, there will be a kindred pleas- 
ure, in treading the halls once vocal with their mirth, to 
that the toper enjoys in smelling to the empty cask, once 
filled with generous wine. " 

The resolution was no sooner formed than put in execu- 
tion. I forbear to treat of the various adventures and won- 
ders I encountered in my travels, of the haunted regions of 
Cock Lane ; of the faded glories of Little Britain, and the 
parts adjacent; what perils I ran in Oateaton Street and 
Old Jewry; of the renowned Guildhall and its two stmited 



112 WORKS OF WASHIITGTON" IRYllTG. 

giants^ the pride and w.onder of the city^ and the terror of 
all unlucky urchins; and how I visited London Stone^ and 
struck my staff upon it, in imitation of that arch-rebel^^ 
Jack Cade. 

Let it suffice to say that I at length arrived in merry 
Eastchea,p, that ancient region of wit and wassail, where 
the very names of the streets rehshed of good cheer, as Pud- 
ding Lane bears testimony even at the present day. For 
Eastcheap, says old Stow, " was always famous for its con- 
vivial doings. The cookes cried hot ribbes of beef roasted^ 
j)ies well baked and other victuals; there was clattering of 
j)ewter pots, harj)e, pipe, and sawtrie.'^ Alas! how sadly 
is the scene changed since the roaring days of Falstaff and 
old Stow! The madcap roisterer has given place to the 
plodding tradesman; the clattering of pots and the sound 
of ^^ harp and sawtrie,^^ to the din of carts and the accursed 
dinging of the dustman^ s bell; and no song is heard, save,, 
happily, the strain of some siren from Billingsgate, chant- 
ing the eulogy of deceased mackerel. 

I sought, in vain, for the ancient abode of Dame Quick- 
ly. The only relict of it is a boar's head, carved in relief 
stone, which formerly served as the sign, but, afc present, 
is built into the |)arting line of two houses which stand on 
the site of the renowned old tavern. 

For the history of this little empire of good fellowship, I 
was referred to a tallow-chandler's widow, ojDposite, who 
had been born and brought up on the spot, and was looked 
up) to as the indisputable chronicler of the neighborhood. 
I found her seated in a little back parlor, the window of 
which looked out upon a yard about eight feet scjuare, laid 
out as a flower-garden; while a glass door opposite afforded 
a distant peep of the street, through a vista of soap and tal- 
low candles; the two views, which comprised, in all 23roba- 
bility, her prospects in life, and the little world, in wliich 
she had lived, and moved, and had her being, for the bet- 
ter part of a century. 



SK ETCH- BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. IDB" 

To be versed in the history of Eastcheap, great and lit- 
tle, from London Stone even unto the Monument, was^ 
doubtless, in her oj^inion, to be acquainted with the history 
of the universe. Yet, with all this, she possessed the sim- 
plicity of true wisdom, and that liberal, communicative dis- 
position, which I have generally remarked in intelligent 
old ladies, knowing in the concerns of their neighbor- 
hood. 

Her information, however, did not extend far back into 
antiquity. She could throw no light upon the history of 
the Boards Head, from the time that Dame Quickly es- 
poused the valiant Pistol, until the great fire of London,, 
when it was unfortunately burned down. It was soon re- 
built, and continued to flourish under the old name and 
sign, until a dying landlord, struck with remorse for double 
scores, bad measures, and other iniquities which are inci- 
dent to the sinful race of publicans, endeavored to make 
his peace with Heaven, by bequeathing the^ tavern to St. 
Michaers Church, Crooked Lane, toward the supporting 
of a chaplain. For some time the vestry meetings were 
regularly held there; but it was observed that the old Boar 
never held up his head under church government. He 
gradually declined, and finally gave his last gasp about 
thirty years since. The tavern was then turned into shops; 
but she informed me that a picture of it was still preserved 
in St. Michaers Church, which stood just in the rear. To 
get a sight of this picture w^as now my determination; so, 
having informed myself of the abode of the sexton, I took 
my leave of the venerable chronicler of Eastcheap, my visit 
having doubtless raised greatly her opinion of her legendary 
lore, and furnished an important incident in the history of 
her life. 

It cost me some difficulty, and much curious inquiry, to 
ferret out the humble hanger-on to the church. I had to 
explore Crooked Lane, and divers little alleys, and dark 
elbows, and dark passages, with which this old city is per- 



114 WORKS OF WASfllKGTOK IRVING. 

foratecl, like an ancient clieese, or a worm-eaten chest of 
drawers. At length I traced him to a corner of a small 
courts surrounded by lofty houses^ where the inhabitants 
enjoy abont as much of the face of lieayen as a community 
of frogs at the bottom of a well. The sexton was a meek, 
acquiescing little man, of a bowing, lowly habit; yet he had 
a pleasant twinkling in his eye, and, if encouraged, would 
now and then venture a small pleasantry; such as a man of 
his low estate might venture to make in the company of 
high church-wardens, and other mighty men of the earth. 
I found him in company with the deputy organist, seated 
apart, like Milton'' s angels; discoursing, no doubt, on high 
doctrinal points, and settling the affairs of the church over 
a friendly pot of ale ; for the lower classes of English sel- 
dom deliberate on any weighty matter, without the assist- 
ance of a cool tankard to clear their understandings. I 
arrived at the moment when they had finished their ale and 
their argument,' and were about to repair to the church to 
put it in order; so, having made known my wishes, I re- 
ceived their gracious permission to accompany them. 

The church of St. MichaeFs, Crooked Lane, standing a 
short distance from Billingsgate, is enriched with the 
tombs of many fishmongers of renown ; and as every pro- 
fession has its galaxy of glory, and its constellation of great ' 
men, I presume the monument of a mighty fishmonger of 
the olden time is regarded with as much reverence by suc- 
ceeding generations of the craft, as poets feel on contem- 
plating the tomb of Virgil, or soldiers the monument of a 
Marlborough or Turenne. 

I can not but turn aside, while thus speaking of illus- 
trious men, to observe that St. Michaers, Crooked Lane, 
contains also the ashes of that doughty champion, William 
Walworth, Knight, who so manfully clove down the sturdy 
wight, Wat Tyler, in Smithfield; a hero worthy of honor- 
able blazon, as almost the only lord mayor on record fa- 
mous for deeds of arms; the sovereigns of Cockney be- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYON, GENT. 115 

iiig generally renowned as the most pacific of all poten- 
tates. ■'• 

Adjoining the church, in a small cemetery, immediately 
under the back windows of what was once the Boards Head, 
stands the tombstone of Eobert Preston, whilom drawer at 
the tavern. It is now nearly a century since this trusty 
drawer of good liquor closed his bustling career, and was 
thus quietly deposited within call of his customers. As I 
was clearing away the weeds from his epitaph, the little 
sexton drew me on one side with a mysterious air and in- 
formed me, in a low voice, that once upon a time, on a 
dark wintery night, when the wind was uniuly, howling and 
whistling, banging about doors and windows, and twirling 
weathercocks, so that the living were frightened out of their 

* The following was the ancient inscription on tlie monument of 
this worthy, which, unhappily, was destroyed in the great contiagra- 
tiou: 

" Hereunder lyth a man of fame, 
William Walworth callyd by name 
Fishmonger he was in Ij^fftime here. 
And twise Lord Maior, as in books appeare; 
Who, with courage stout and manly niyght, 
Slew Jack Straw in Kyng Richard's sight, 
For which act done, and trew entent, 
The Kyng made him knyght incontinent; 
And gave him armes, as here you see, 
To declare his fact and chivaldrie: 
He left this lyff the year of our God 
Thirteen hondred fourscore and three odd." 
An error in the foregoing inscription has been corrected by the 
venerable Stow: " Vv' hereas," saith he, "it hath been far spread 
abroad by vulgar opinion, that the rebel smitten down so manfully 
by Sir William Walworth, the then worthy Lord Maior, was named 
Jack Straw, and not Wat Tyler, I hiought good to reconcile this 
rash conceived doubt by such testimony as I find in ancient and 
good records. The principal leaders, or captains, of the commons, 
were Wat Tyler, as the first man; the second was John, or Jack, 
Straw, etc., etc.— Stow's London. 



116 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

teds, and even the dead could not sleep quietly in their 
graves, the ghost of honest Preston, which happened to be 
airing itself in the church-yard, was attracted by the well- 
known call of " waiter/' from the Boar's Head, and made 
its sudden appearance in the midst of a roaring club, just 
as the parish clerk was singing a stave from the '' mirrie 
garland of Captain Death;'' to the discomfiture of sundry 
train-band captains, and the conversion of an infidel attor- 
ney, who became a zealous Christian on the spot, and was 
never known to twist the truth afterward, except in the 
way of business. 

I beg it may be remembered, that I do not pledge myself 
for the authenticity of this anecdote; though it is well 
known that the church-yards and by-corners of this old 
metro j)olis are very much infested with perturbed spirits; 
and every one must have heard of the Cock Lane ghost, 
and the apparition that guards the regalia in the Tower, 
which has frightened so many bold sentinels almost out of 
their wits. 

Be all this as it may, this Robert Preston seems to have 
been a worthy successor to the nimble -tongued Francis, 
who attended upon the revels of Prince Hal; to have been 
equally promjjt with his " anon, anon, sir," and to have 
transcended his predecessor in honesty; for EalstafP, the 
veracity of whose taste no man will venture to impeach, 
flatly accuses Francis of putting lime in his sack; whereas, 
honest Preston's epitaph lauds him for the sobriety of his 
conduct, the soundness of his wine, and the fairness of his 
measure.* The worthy dignitaries of the church, how- 

* As this inscription is rife with excellent morality, I transcribe 
it for the admonition of delinquent tapsters. It is, no doubt, the 
production of some choice spirit, who once frequented the Boar'^ 
Head : 

" Bacchus, to give the toping world surprise, 
Produced one sober sou, and here he lies. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 117 

ever, did not apj^ear much captivated by the sober virtues 
of the tapster: the deputy organist, who had a moist look 
out of the eye, made some shrewd remark on the abstem- 
iousness of a man brought up among full hogsheads; and 
the little sexton corroborated his ojiinion by a significant 
wink, and a dubious shake of the head. 

Thus far my researches, though they threw much light 
on the history of tapsters, fishmongers, and lord mayors, 
yet disappointed me in the great object of my quest, the 
picture of the Boards Head Tavern. No such j^ainting was 
to be found in the church of St. MichaeFs. ^' Marry and 
amen!" said I, ''here endeth my research!" So I was 
giving the matter up, with the air of a baffled antiquary, 
when my friend the sexton, perceiving me to be curious in 
■everything relative to the old tavern, offered to show me 
the choice vessels of the vestry, which had been handed 
down from remote times, when the parish meetings were 
held at the Boars Head. These were deposited in the par- 
ish club-room, which had been transferred, on the decline 
of the ancient establishment, to a tavern in the neighbor- 
hood. 

A few steps brought us to the house, which stands No. 
12, Mile Lane, bearing the title of The Mason's Arms, and 
is kept by Master Edward Honeyball, the ''bully-rock" 
of the establishment. It is one of those little taverns, 
which abound in the heart of the city, and form the center 
of gossip and intelligence of the neighborhood. We entered 
the bar-room, which was narrow and darkling; for in these 

Though rear'd among full hogsheads, he defied 
The charms of wine, and every one beside. 
O, reader, if to justice thou'rt inclined, 
Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind. 
He drew good wine, took care to fill his pots, 
Had sundry virtues that excused his faults. 
You that on Bacchus have the like dependence, 
Pray copy Bob, in measure and attendance." 



118 WORKS OF WASHIIirGTOI^ IRYING. 

close lanes but fev/ rays of reflected light are enabled to 
struggle down to the inhabitants;, whose broad day is at 
best but a tolerable twilight. The room was jDartitioned 
into boxes^ each containing a table sjaread with a clean 
white cloth^ ready for dinner. This showed that the guests 
were of the good old stamp, and divided their day equally ;, 
for it was but just one o'clock. At the lower end of the 
room was a clear coal fire, before which a breast of lamb 
was roasting. A row of bright brass candlesticks and pew- 
ter mugs glistened along the mantel-piece, and an old-fash- 
ioned clock ticked in one corner. There was something 
primitive in this medley of kitchen, parlor, and hall, that 
carried me back to earlier times, and pleased me. The 
place, indeed, was humble, but everything had that look of 
order and neatness which bespeaks the superintendence of 
a notable English housewife. A grouj) of amiDhibious-look- 
ing beings, who might be either fishermen or sailors, were 
regaling themselves in one of the boxes. As I was a visitor 
of rather higher pretensions, I was ushered into a little 
misshapen back room, having at least nine corners. It was 
lighted by a sky-light, furnished with antiquated leathern 
chairs, and ornamented with the portrait of a fat pig. It 
was evidently appropriated to particular customers, and I 
found a shabby gentleman, in a red nose, and oil-cloth hat^ 
seated in one corner, meditating on a half -empty pot of 
porter. 

The old sexton had taken the landlady aside, and with 
an air of profound importance imparted to her my errand. 
Dame Honeyball was a likely, plump, bustling little 
woman, and no bad substitute for that paragon of hostesses. 
Dame Quickly. She seemed delighted with an opportunity 
to oblige; and hurrying upstairs to the archives of her 
house, where the precious vessels of the parish club were 
deposited, she returned, smiling and courtesying with them 
in her hands. 

The first she presented me was a japanned iron tobacco- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. ] 19 

box, of gigantic size, out of which, I was told, the vestry 
ha<:I smoked at their stated meetings, since time immemo- 
rial; and which was -never suffered to be profaned by vul- 
gar hands, or used on common occasions. I received it 
with becoming reverence ; but what was my delight, at be- 
holding, on its cover the identical painting of which I was 
in quest! There was displayed the outside of the Boar's 
Head Tavern, and before the door was to be seen the whole 
convivial group, at table, in full revel, pictured with that 
wonderful fidelity and force, with which the portraits of re- 
nowned generals and commodores are illustrated on tobacco 
boxes, for the benefit of posterity. Lest, however, there 
should be any mistake, the cunning limner had warily in- 
scribed the names of Prince Hal and Falstalf on the bot- 
toms of their chairs. 

On the inside of the cover was an inscription, nearly ob- 
literated, recording that this box was the gift of Sir Richard 
Gore, for the use of the vestry meetings at the Boar's Head 
Tavern, and that it was " repaired and beautified by his 
successor, Mr. John Packard, 1767.'' Such is a faithful 
description of this august and venerable relic, and I ques- 
tion whether the learned Scriblerius conteftiplated hi 
Roman shield, or the Knights of the Round Table, the 
long-sought sangreal, with more exultation. 

While I was meditating on it with enraptured gaze. 
Dame Honeyball, who was highly gratified by the interest 
it excited, put in my hands a drinking-cup or goblet, which 
also belonged to the vestry, and was descended from the 
old Boar's Head. It bore the inscription of having been 
the gift of Francis Wythers, Knight, and was held, she told 
me, in exceedmg great value, being considered very *' an- 
tyke." This last opinion was strengthened by the shabby 
gentleman with the red nose, and oil-cloth hat, and whom 
I strongly suspected of being a lineal descendant from the 
valiant Bardolph. He suddenly aroused from his medita- 
tion on the pot of porter, and casting a knowing look at 



120 ^ WORKS OF WASHINGTON IKYING. 

the goblet, exclaimed., '' Ay ay, the head don^t ache now 
that made that there article/^ 

The great importance attached to this memento of an- 
cient revelry by modern church-wardens, at first puzzled 
me; but there is nothing sharpens the apprehension sa 
much as antiquarian research; for I immediately jDerceived 
that this could be no other than the identical " parcel-gilt 
goblet '' on which Falstaif made his loving, but faithless- 
vow to Dame Quickly: and which would, of course, be 
treasured up with care among the regalia of her domains,, 
as a testimony of that solemn contract. * 

Mine hostess, indeed, gave me a long history how the 
goblet had been handed down from generation to genera- 
tion. She also entertained me with many particulars con- 
cerning the worthy vestrymen who have seated themselves 
thus quietly on the stools of the ancient roisterers of East- 
cheaj), and, like so many commentators, utter clouds of 
smoke in honor of Shakespeare. These I forbear to relate, 
lest my readers should not be as curious in these matters 
as myself. Suffice it to say, the neighbors, one and all, 
about Eastcheap, believe that Falstaif and his merry crew 
actually lived and reveled there. Nay, there are several 
legendary anecdotes concerning him still extant among the 
oldest frequenters of the Mason^s Arms, which they give a,s 
transmitted down from their forefathers; and Mr. M^Kash, 
an Irish hair-dresser, whose shop stands on the site of the 
old Boards Head, has several dry jokes of Eat Jack^s, not 
laid down in the books, with which he makes his customers- 
ready to die of laughter. 



^ Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my 
Dolphin Chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednes- 
day in Whitsun week, when the Prince broke thy head for likening 
his father to a singing man of Windsor; thou didst swear to me 
then, as I was washing thy wound, to marry me, and make me my 
lady, thy wife. Canst thou deny iil— Henry IV., part 2. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 121 

I now turned to my friend the sexton to make some fur- 
ther inquiries, but I found him sunk in pensive meditation. 
His head had declined on one side; a deep sigh heaved from 
the very bottom of his stomach, and, though I could not 
see a tear trembling in his eye, yet a moisture was evidently 
stealing from a corner of his mouth. I followed the direc- 
tion of his eye through the door which stood open, and 
found it fixed wistfully on the savory breast of lamb, roast- 
ing in drij)ping richness before the fire. 

I now called to mind, that in the eagerness of my re- 
condite investigation, I was keeping the jDOor man from 
•his dinner. My bowels yearned with sympathy, and put- 
ting in his hand a small token of my gratitude and good- 
will, I dejDarted with a hearty benediction on him, Dame 
Honeyball, and the j^arish club of Crooked Lane — not for- 
getting my shabby, but sententious friend, in the oil-cloth 
hat and coj^per nose. 

Thus I have given a " tedious briefs account of this 
interesting research; for which, if it jDrove too short and 
unsatisfactory, I can only plead my inexperience in this 
branch of literature, so deservedly poj)ular at the present 
day. I am aware that a more skillful illustrator of the im- 
mortal bard would have swelled the materials I have touched 
upon, to a good merchantable bulk, comj^rising the biog- 
raphies of William Walworth, Jack Straw, and Robert 
Preston; some notice of the eminent fishmongers of St. 
Michael's; the history of Eastcheap, great and little; pri- 
vate anecdotes of Dame Honeyball and her pretty daugh- 
ter, whom I have not even mentioned : to say nothing of a 
damsel tending the breast of lamb (and whom, by the way, 
I remarked to be a comely lass with a neat foot and ankle) ; 
the whole enlivened by the riots of Wat Tyler, and illumin- 
ated by the great fire of London. 

x\ll this I leave as a rich mine to be worked by future 
commentators; nor do I despair of seeing the tobacco-box, 
and the " parcel-gilt goblet,"' which I have thus brought 



122 WOEKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

to light, the subject of future engravings, and almost as 
fruitful of voluminous dissertations and disputes as the 
shield of Achilles, or the far-famed Portland vase. 



THE MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE. 

A COLLOQUY IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY. 

I know that all beneath the moon decays. 
And wiiat by mortals in this world is brought. 
In time's great periods shall return to naught, 

I know that all the muses' heavenly layes, 
VVith toil of sprite which are so (iearly bought, 
As idle sounds of few or none are sought, 

That there is nothing lighter than mere praise. 

Drummond of Hawthornden. 

There are certain half -dreaming moods of mind, in 
which we naturally st^al away from noise and glare, and 
seek some quiet haunt, where we may indulge our reveries, 
and build our air castles undisturbed. In such a mood, I 
was loitering about the old gray cloisters of Westminster 
Abbey, enjoying the luxury of wandering thought which 
one is apt to dignify with the name of reflection; when sud-^ 
denly an irruption of madcap boys from Westminster school,. 
p]a}dng at foot-ball, broke in upon the monastic stillness of 
the place, making the vaulted passages and moldering 
tombs echo with their -merriment. I sought to take refuge 
from their noise by penetrating still deeper into the soli- 
tudes of the pile, and aj)plied to one of the vergers for ad- 
mission to the library. He conducted me through a portal 
rich with the crumbling sculpture of former ages, which 
opened upon a gloomy passage leading to the Chapter 
House, and the cjiamber in which Doomsday Book is de- 
posited. Just within the passage is a small door on the 
left. To this the verger applied a key; it was double 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 123 

locked, and opened with some difficulty, as if seldom used. 
We now ascended a dark narrow staircase, and j)assing 
through a second door, entered the library. 

I found myself in a lofty antique hall, the roof sui:)2:)orted 
by massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly light- 
ed by a row of Gothic windows at a considerable height 
from the floor, and which apparentl}" opened upon the roofs 
of the cloisters. An ancient picture of some reverend dig- 
nitary of the church in his robes hung over the fire-place. 
Around the hall and in a small gallery were the books, 
arranged in carved oaken cases. They consisted princi- 
pally of old polemical writers, and were much more worn 
by time than use. In the center of the library was a soli- 
tary table, with two or three books on it, an inkstand with- 
out ink, and a few pens parched by long disuse. The place 
seemed fitted for quiet study and profound meditation. It 
w^as buried deep among the massive walls of the abbey, 
and shut up from the tumult of the world. I could only 
hear now and then the shouts of the schoolboys faintly swell- 
ing from the cloisters, and the sound of a bell tolling for 
prayers that echoed soberly along the roofs of the abbey. 
By degrees the shouts of merriment grew fainter and 
fainter, and at length died away. The bell ceased to toll, 
and a profound silence reigned through the dusky hall. 

I had taken down a little thick quarto, curiously bound 
in parchment, with brass clasps, and seated myself at the 
table in a venerable elbow chair. Instead of reading, how- 
ever, I was beguiled by the solemn monastic air and lifeless 
quiet of the place, into a train of musing. As I looked 
around upon the old volumes in their moldering covers, 
thus ranged on the shelves, and apparently never disturbed 
in their repose, I could not but consider the library a kind 
of literary catacomb, where authors, like mummies, are 
piously entombed, and left to blacken and molder in dusty 
oblivion. 

How much, thoudit I, has each of these volumes, now 



124 WORKS OF WASHI^^GTOK IRYING. 

thrust aside witli such indifference^ cost some aching head 
— ^how many weary days! how many sleepless nights! How 
have their authors buried themselves in the solitude of cell 
and cloisters; shut themselves up from the face of man^*' 
and the still more blessed face of nature; and devoted them- 
selves to painful research and intense reflection ! And all 
for what? to occupy an inch of dusty shelf — to have the- 
titles of their works read now and then in a future age^ by 
some drowsy churchman^ or casual straggler like myself; 
and in another age to be lost even to remembrance. Such 
is the amount of this boasted immortality. A mere tem- 
porary rumor^ a local sound; like the tone of that bell which 
has just tolled among these towers, filling the ear for a mo- 
ment — lingering transiently in echo — and then passing^ 
away, like a thing that was not! 

While I sat half -murmuring, half -meditating these un- 
profitable speculations, with my head resting on my hand, 
I was thrumming with the other hand upon the quarto, 
until I accidentally loosened the clasjjs; when, to my utter 
astonishment, the little book gave two or three yawns, like 
one awaking from a deep sleej^; then a dusky hem, and at 
length began to talk. At first its voice was very hoarse and 
broken, being much troubled by a cobweb which some 
studious spider had, woven across it; and having probably 
contracted a cold from long exposure to the chills and 
damps of the abbey. In a short time, however, it became 
more distinct, and I soon found it an exceedingly fluent 
conversable little tome. Its language, to be sure, was 
rather quaint and obsolete, and its pronunciation Vfhat in 
the present day would be deemed barbarous; but I shall en- 
deavor, as far as I am able, to render it in modern par- 
lance. 

It began Avith railings about the neglect of the world — 
about merit being suffered to languish in obscurity, and 
other such commonplace topics of literary repining, and 
complained bitterly that it had not been opened for more 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 12c> 

than two centuries; — that the dean only looked now and 
then into the library, sometimes took down a volume or 
two, trifled with them for a few moments, and then returned 
them to their shelves. 

" What a plague do they mean,'' said the little quarto,, 
which I began to j^erceive was somewhat choleric, " what a 
23lague do they mean by keeping several thousand volumes 
of us shut wp here, 9.nd watched by a set of old vergers, like 
so many beauties in a harem, merely to be looked at now 
and then by the dean? Books were written to give pleas- 
ure and to be enjoyed; and I Avould have a rule j^assed that 
the dean should j^ay each of us a visit at least once a year; 
or if he is not equal to the task, let them once in a while 
turn loose the whole school of Westminster among us, that 
at any rate we may now and then have an airing/' 

" Softly, my worthy friend," replied I, '' you are not 
aware how much better you are off than most books of your 
generation. By being stored away in this ancient .library, 
you are like the treasured remains of those saints and mon- 
archs which lie enshrined in the adjoining chapels; while 
the remains of their contemporary mortals, left to the ordi- 
nary course of nature, have long since returned to dust. " 

^' Sir," said the little tome, ruffling his leaves and look- 
ing big, " I was written for all the world, not for the book- 
worms of an abbey. I was intended to circulate from hand 
to hand, like other great contemporary works; Hbut here 
have I been clasped up for more than two centuries, and 
might have silently fallen a prey to these worms that are 
playing the very vengeance with my intestines, if you had 
not by chance given me an opportunity of uttering a few 
last words before I go to pieces." 

'^ My good friend," rejoined I, *^ had you been left to 
ilie circulation of which you speak, you would long ere this 
have been no more. To judge from your physiognomy,, 
you are now well stricken in years; very few of your con- 
temporaries can be at present in existence; and those few 



126 WOKKS OE WASHI:nGTOK lEYINa. 

owe their longevity to being immured like yourself in old 
libraries; wbicli, suffer me to add, instead of likening to 
liarems, you might more properly and gratefully have com- 
pared to those infirmaries attached to religious establish- 
ments, for the benefit of the old and decrepid, and where, 
by quiet fostering and no employment, they often endure 
to an amazingly good-for-nothing old age. You talk of 
your contemporaries as if in circulation — where do we meet 
with their works? — what do we hear of Eobert Groteste of 
Lincoln ? No one could have toiled harder than he for 
immortality. He is said to have written nearly two hundred 
volumes. He built, as it were, a pyramid of books to per- 
petuate his name: but, alas! the pyramid has long since 
fallen, and only a few fragments are scattered in various 
libraries, where they are scarcely disturbed even by the 
antiquarian. What do we hear of Giraldiis Cambrensis, 
the historian, antiquary, philosopher, theologian, and poet? 
He declined two bishoprics that he might shut himself up 
and write for posterity; but posterity never inquires after 
his labors. What of Henry of Huntingdon, who, besides a 
learned history of England, wrote a treatise on the con- 
tempt of the world, which the world has revenged by for- 
getting him? What is quoted of Joseph of Exeter, styled 
the miracle of his age in classical composition? Of his three 
great heroic poems, one is lost forever, excepting a mere 
fragment; the others are known only to a few of the curi- 
ous in literature; and as to his love verses and epigrams^ 
they have entirely disappeared. What is in current use of 
John Wallis, the Franciscan, who acquired the name of 
the tree of life? — of William of Malmsbury; of Simeon of 
Durham; of Benedict of Peterborough; of John Hanvill of 
St. Albans; of— ''^ 

'^ Prithee, friend,"^ cried the quarto in a testy tone, 
^' how old do you think me? You are talking of authors 
that lived long before my time, and wrote either in Latin 
or French, so that they in a manner expatriated them- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 13T 

selves, and deserved to be forgotten;* but I, sir, was 
ushered into the world from the press of the renowned 
Wynkyn de Worde. I was written in my owii native 
tongue, at a time when the language had become fixed; 
and, indeed, I was considered a model of pure and elegant 
English. 

[I shouM observe that these remarks were couched in 
such intolerably antiquated terms, that I have had infinite 
difficulty in rendering them into modern phraseology.] 

'^ I cry you mercy, ^'' said I, '^ for mistaking your age; 
but it matters little; almost all the writers of your time 
have likewise passed into forgetfulness; and De Worde' s 
publications are mere literary rarities among book-collec- 
toi's. The purity and stability of language, too, on which 
you found your claims to perpetuity, have been the fal- 
lacious dependence of authors of every age, even back to 
the times of the worthy Robert of Gloucester, who wrote 
his history in rhymes of mongrel Saxon, f Even now, 
many talk of Spenser's ' well of pure English undefiled,' 
as if the language ever sjorung from a well or fountain- 
head, and was not rather a mere confluence of various 
tongues perpetually subject to changes and intermixtures^ 

* In Latin and French hath many soueraine wittes had great 
delyte to endyte, and have many noble things fultilde, but certes 
there ben some that speaken their poisye in French, of which 
spechc the Fl'euchnien have as good a fantasye as we have in hear- 
ing of Frenchmen's Enghshe. — Chaucer's Testament of Love. 

f Holinshed, in his Chronicle, observes, "afterwards, also, by 
diligent travell of Geffrj^ Chaucer and John Gowrie, in the time of 
Richard the Second, and after them of John Scogan and John Lyd- 
gate, monke of Berrie, our said toong was brought to an excellent 
passe, notwithstanding that it never came unto tlie type of perfec- 
tion until the time of Queen Elizabeth, wherein Jolin Jewell, Bishop 
of Sariim, John Fox, and sundrie learned and excellent writers,, 
have fully accomplished the ornature of ihe same to their great 
praise and immortal commendation." 



128 WORKS OF AVASHIXGTOK IKVISG. 

It is this which has made English literature so extremely 
mutable^ and the repntation built upon it so fleeting. Un- 
less thought can be committed to something more perma- 
nent and unchangeable than such a medium/ even thought 
must share the fate of everything else^ and fall into decay. 
This should serve as a check upon the vanity and exulta- 
tion of the most popular writer. He finds the language in 
ivhich he has embarked his fame gradually altering^ and 
subject to the dilapidations of time and the caprice of 
fashion. He looks back^ and beholds the early authors of 
his country, once the favorites of their day, sujDplanted by 
modern writers; a few short ages have covered them with 
obscurity, and their merits can only be relished by the 
quaint taste of the bookworm. And such, he anticipates, 
will be the fate of his own work, which, however it may be 
admired in its day, and help as a model of 23nrity, will, in 
the course of years, grow antiquated and obsolete, until it 
shall become almost as unintelligible in its native land as 
an Egy|)tian obelisk, or one of those Eunic inscriptions, 
said to exist in the deserts of Tartary. I declare,"^ added 
I, with emotion, " when I contemplate a modern library, 
flUed with new works in all the bravery of rich gilding and 
binding, I feel disposed to sit down and weep, like the 
good Xerxes, when he surveyed his army, pranked out in 
all the splendor of military array, and reflected that in one 
hundred years not one of them would be in existence !^^ 

" Ah,"^ said the little quarto, with a heavy sigh, " I see 
Ihow it is; these modern scribblers have superseded all the 
good old authors. I suppose nothing is read nowadays but 
Sir Philip Sidney^ s Arcadia, Sackville^s stately plays and 
Mirror of Magistrates, or the fine-spun euphuisms of the 
"^ unparalleled John Lyly.^ '' 

" There you are again mistaken, ^^ said I; " the writers 
whom you suppose in vogue, because they happeiied to be 
.30 when you were last in circulation, have long since had 
their day. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, the immortality 



GENT. 12\) 

of wliicli was so fondly predicted by his admirers^* and 
which, in truth, was full of noble thoughts, delicate im- 
ages, and graceful turns of language, is now scarcely ever 
mentioned. Sackville has strutted into obscurity; and 
even Lyly, though his writings were once the delight of a 
court, and apparently ^perpetuated by a proverb, is now 
scarcely known even by name. A whole crowd of authors 
who wrote and wrangled at the time, have likewise gone 
down with all their writings and their controversies. Wave 
after wave of succeeding literature has rolled over them, 
until they are buried so deep, that it is only now and then 
that some industrious diver after fragments of antiquity 
brings up a specimen for the gratification of the curious. 

" For my part,^' I continued, " I consider this muta- 
bility of language a wise precaution of Providence for the 
benefit of the world at large, and of authors in particular. 
To reason from analogy, we daily behold the varied and 
beautiful tribes of vegetables springing up, flourishing, 
adorning the fields for a short time, and then fading into 
dust, to make way for their successors. Were not this the 
case, the fecundity of nature would be a grievance instead 
of a blessing; the earth would groan with rank and exces- 
sive vegetation, and its surface become a tangled wilder- 
ness. In like manner, the works of genius and learning 
decline and make way for subsequent productions. Lan- 
guage gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings 
of authors who have flourished their allotted time : other- 
wise the creative powers of genius would overstock the 

* Live ever sweete booke ; the simple image of his gentle witt, 
and the golden pillar of his noble courage ; and ever notify unto the 
world that thy writer was the secretary of eloquence, the breath of 
the muses, the honey bee of the daintyest flowers of witt and arte, the 
pith of morale and the intellectual virtues, the arme of Bellona in 
the field, the tongue of Suada in the chamber, the spirite of Practise 
in esse, and the Paragon of excellency in print. 

Harvey's Pierce's Supererogation. 



130 WORKS OF WASHINGTOK IRVINGK 

v/orld, and the mirtd would be completely bewildered in 
the endless mazes of literature. Formerly there were some 
restraints on this excessive multiplication : works had to be 
transcribed by hand^ which was a slow and laborious opera- 
tion; they were written either on parchment, which was 
expensive, so that one work was often erased to make way 
for another: or on papyrus, which was fragile and ex- 
tremely perishable. Authorship was a limited and unprofi- 
table craft, pursued chiefly by monks in the leisure and 
solitude of their cloisters. The ^accumulation of manu- 
scripts was slow and costly, and confined almost entirely to 
monasteries. To these circumstances it may, in some 
measure, be owing that we have not been inundated by the 
intellect of antiquity; that the fountains of thought have 
not been broken uj), and modern genius drowned in the 
deluge. But the inventions of paper and the press have 
put an end to all these restraints : they have made every 
one a writer, and enabled every mind to pour itself into 
jDrint, and diffuse itself over the whole intellectual world. 
The consequences are alarming. The stream of literature 
has swollen into a torrent, augmented into a river, ex- 
panded into a sea. A few centuries since, five or six hun- 
dred manuscripts constituted a great library; but what 
would you say to libraries, such as actually exist, contain- 
ing three or four hundred thousand volumes; legions of 
authors at the same time busy; and a press going on with 
fearfully increasing activity, to double and quadruple the 
number? Unless some unforeseen mortality should break 
out among the progeny of the Muse, now that she has be- 
come so prolific, I tremble for posterity. I fear the mere 
fluctuation of language will not be sufficient. Criticism 
may do much; it increases with the increase of literature, 
and resembles one of those solitary checks on population 
spoken of by economists. All possible encouragement, 
therefore, should be given to the growth of critics, good or 
bad. But I fear all will be in vain; let criticism do what 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOIT, GENT. 131 

it may, writers will write, 2)ri]iters will print, and the world 
will inevitably be overstocked with good books. It will 
soon be the emj)loyment of a lifetime merely to learn their 
names. Many a man of passable information at the pres- 
ent day reads scarcely anything but reviews, and before 
long a man of erudition will be little better than a mere 
walking catalogue/' 

" My very good sir,'' said the little quarto, yawning 
most drearily ui my face, '' excuse my interrupting you, 
Init I perceive you are rather given to prose. I would ask 
the fate of an author who was making some noise just as I 
left the world. His reputation, however, was considered 
quite temporary. The learned shook their heads at him, 
for he was a poor, half -educated varlet, that knew little of 
Latin, and nothing of Greek, and had been obliged to run 
the country for deer-stealijig. I think his name was 
Shakespeare. I presume he soon sunk into oblivion. " 

" On the contrary," said I, ** it is owing to that very 
man that the literature of his period has experienced a 
duration beyond the ordinary term of English literature. 
There arise authors now and then, who seem j^roof against 
the mutability of language, because they have rooted them- 
selves in the unchanging principles of human nature. 
They are like gigantic trees that we sometimes see on the 
banks of a stream, which, by their vast and deep roots, 
^penetrating through the mere surface, and laying hold on 
the very foimdations of the earth, preserve the soil around 
them from being swept away by the overflowing current, 
and hold ujd many a neighboring plant, and, perhaps, 
worthless weed, to perpetuity. Such is the case with 
Shakesj)eare, whom we behold, def3ring the encroachments 
of time, retaining in modern use the language and litera- 
ture of his day, and giving duration to many an indifferent 
author merely from having flourished in his vicinity. But 
even he, I grieve to say, is gradually assuming the tint of 
age, and his whole form is overrun by a profusion of com- 



132 WORKS OP WASHINGTON IRVIlfGo 

mentators, who, like clambering vines and creepers, almost 
bury the noble plant that upholds them/^ 

Here the little quarto began to heave his sides and 
chuckle, until at length he broke out into a plethoric fit of 
laughter that had well-nigh choked him by reason of his 
excessive corpulency. " Mighty well!" cried he, as soon 
as he could recover breath, " mighty well! and so you 
would persuade me that the literature of an age is to be 
perpetuated by a vagabond deer-stealer! by a man without 
learning! by a poet! forsooth — a poet!" And here he 
wheezed forth another fit of laughter. 

I confess that I felt somewhat nettled at this rudeness, 
which, however, I pardoned on account of his having 
flourished in a less polished age. I determined, neverthe- 
less, not to give up my point. 

" Yes," resumed I positively, " a poet; for of all writers 
he has the best chance for immortality. Others may write 
from the head, but he writes from the heart, and the heart 
will always understand him. He is the faithful portrayer 
of Nature, whose features are always the same, and^ always 
interesting. Prose writers are voluminous and unwieldy; 
their pages crowded with commonplaces, and their 
thoughts expanded into tediousness. But with the true 
poet everything is terse, touching, or brilliant. He gives 
the choicest thoughts in the choicest language. He illus- 
trates them by everything that he sees most striking in 
nature and art. He enriches them by pictures of human 
life, such as it is passing before him. His writings, there- 
fore, contain the spirit, the aroma, if I may use the phrase, 
of the age in which he lives. They are caskets which in- 
close within a small compass the wealth of the language — 
its family jewels, which are thus transmitted in a portable 
form to posterity. The setting may occasionally be anti- 
quated, and require now and then to be renewed, as in the 
case of Chaucer; but the brilliancy and intrinsic value of 
the sems continue unaltered. Oast a look back over the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 133 

long reach of literary history. What vast valleys of dull- 
ness, filled with monkish legends and academical contro- 
versies! What bogs of theological speculations! What 
dreary wastes of metaphysics! Here and there only do we 
behold the heaven-illumined bards, elevated like beacons 
on their widely separated heights, to transmit the pure 
light of poetical intelligence from age to age."* 

I was just about to launcli forth into eulogiums upon the 
poets of the day, when the sudden opening of the door 
caused me to turn my head. It was the verger, who came 
to inform me that it was time to close the library. I 
sought to have a parting word with the quarto, but the 
worthy little tome was silent; the clasps were closed; and 
it looked perfectly unconscious of all that had passed. I 
have been to the library two or three times since, and have 
endeavored to draw it into further conversation, but in 
vain: and whether all this rambling colloquy actually took 
place, or whether it was another of those odd day-dreams 
to which I am subject, I have never, to this moment, been 
able to discover. 



* Tliorow earth, and waters deepe, 

The pen by skill doth passe : 
And featly nyps the worldes abuse, 

A.nd shoes us in a glasse, 
The vertu and the vice 

Of every wight alyve ; 
The honey combe that bee doth make 

Is not so sweet in hyve, 
As are the golden leves 

That drops from poet's head. 
Which doth surmount our common talke, 

Farre as dross doth lead. 

Church-yard. 



134 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 



RURAL FUNERALS. 

Here's a few flowers ! but about midnight more 
The herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night 
Are strewings fitt'st for graves — 
You were as flowers now withered : even so 
These herb'lets shall, which we upon you strow. 



Among the beautiful and simple-hearted customs of 
rural life which still linger in some parts of England^ are 
those of strewing flowers before the funerals and planting 
them at the graves of departed friends. There, it is said, 
are the remains of some of the rites of the primitive 
church; but they are of still higher antiquity, having been 
observed among the Gl-eeks and Romans, and frequently- 
mentioned by their writers, and were no doubt the spon- 
taneous tributes of unlettered affection, originating long 
before art had tasked itself to modulate sorrow into song, 
or story it on the monument. They are now only to be 
met with in the most distant and retired places of the king- 
dom, where fashion and innovation have not been able to 
throng in, and trample out all the curious and interesting 
traces of the olden time. 

In Glamorganshire, we are told, the bed whereon the 
corpse lies is covered with flowers, a custom alluded to in 
one of the wild and plaintive ditties of Ophelia: 

" White his shroud as the mountain snow, 
Larded all with sweet flowers; 
Which bewept to the grave did go, 
With true love showers." 

There is also a most delicate and beautiful rite obseryed 
in some ^ the remote villages of the south, at the funeral 
of a female who has died young and unmarried. A chap- 




SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CKAYON, GENT. 135 

let of white flowers is borne before the corpse by a youiig 
girl, nearest in age, size, and resemblance, and is after- 
ward hung up in the church over the accustomed seat of 
the deceased. These chaplets are sometimes made of white 
paper, in imitation of flowers, and inside of them is gener- 
ally a pair of white gloves. They are intended as emblems 
of the purity of the deceased, and the crown of glory which 
she has received in heaven. 

In some parts of the country, also, the dead are carried 
to the grave with the singing of psalms and hymns; a kind 
of triumph, " to show,'^ says Bourne, " that they have 
finished their course with joy, and are become con- 
querors. '^ This, I am informed, is observed in some of 
the northern counties, particularly in Northumberland, 
and it has a pleasing, though melancholy effect, to hear, 
of a still evening, in some lonely country scene, the mourn- 
ful melody of a funeral dirge swelling from a distance and 
to see the train slowly moving along the landscape. 

Thus, thus, and thus, we compass round 
Thy harmless and unhaunted ground, 
And as we sing thy dh'ge, we will 

The Daffodill 
And other flowers lay upon 
The altar of our love, thy stone. 

, Herkick. 

There is also a solemn respect paid by the traveler to tlic 
passing fmieral, in these sequestered places; for such 
spectacles, occurring among the quiet abodes of Nature, 
sink deep hito the soul. As the mourning train approaches, 
he pauses, uncovered, to let it go by; he then follows 
silently in the rear; sometimes quite to the grave, at other 
times for a few hundred yards, and having paid this tribute 
of respect to the deceased, turns and resumes his journey. 

The rich vein of melancholy which runs through the 
Enghsh character, and gives it some of its most touching 
and ennobling graces^ is finely evidenced in these pathetic 



136 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOlsr IRVIKG. 

customs, and in the solicitude shown by the common people 
for an honored and a peaceful grave. The humblest peas- 
ant, whatever may be his lowly lot while hving, is anxious 
that some little respect may be paid to his remains. Sir 
Thomas Overbury, describing the " faire and happy milk- 
maid/' observes, " thus lives she, and all her care is, that 
she may die in the spring-time, to have store of flowers 
stucke upon her winding-sheef The poets, too, who 
always breathe the feeling of a nation, continually advert 
to this fond solicitude about the grave. In " The Maid's 
Tragedy,'' by Beaumont and Fletcher, there is a beautiful 
. instance of the kind describing the capricious melancholy 
of a broken-hearted girl. 

When she sees a bank 
Stuck full of flowers, she with a sigh will tell 
Her servants, what a pretty place it were 
To bury lovers in ; and made her maids 
Pluck 'em, and strew her over like a corse." 

The custom of decorating graves was once universally 
prevalent: osiers were carefully bent over them to keep the 
turf uninjured, and about them were planted evergreens 
and flowers. *' We adorn their graves," says Evelyn, in 
his Sylva, " with flowers and redolent plants, just emblems 
of the life of man, which has been compared in Holy 
Scriptures to those fading beauties, whose roots being 
buried in dishonor, rise again in glory." This usage has 
now become extremely rare in England; but it may still be 
met with in the church-yards of retired villages, among the 
Welsh mountains; and I recollect an instance of it at the 
small town of Euthven, whicii lies at the head of the beau- 
tiful vale of Olewyd. I have been told also by a friend, 
who was present at the funeral of a young girl in Glamor- 
ganshire, that the female attendants had their aprons full 
of flowers, which, as soon as the body was interred, they 
stuck about the grave. 

He noticed several graves which had been decorated in 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFPREY CRAYOIT, GENT. 137 

the same manner. As the flowers had been merely stuck 
in the ground, and not planted, they had soon withered, 
and might be seen in various states of decay; some drooping, 
others quite perished. They were afterward to be sup- 
planted by holly, rosemary, and other evergreens; which 
on some graves had grown to great luxuriance, and over- 
shadowed the tombstones. 

There was formerly a melancholy fancifulness in the 
arrangement of these rustic offerings, that had something 
in it truly poetical. The rose was sometimes blended with 
the lily, to form a general emblem of frail mortality. 
" This sweet flower," said Evelyn, *' borne on a branch 
set with thorns, and accompanied with the lily, are natural 
hieroglyphics of our fugitive, umbratile, anxious, and tran- 
sitory life, which, making so fair a show for a time, is not 
yet without its thorns and crosses. ■'' The nature and color 
of the flowers, and of the ribbons with which they were 
tied, had often a particular reference to the qualities or 
story of the deceased, or were exj)ressive of the feelings of 
the mourner. In an old poem, entitled *' Corydon's Dole- 
ful Knell," a lover specifies the decorations he intends to 
use: 

** A garland shall be framed 
By Art and Nature's skill, 
Of sundry-colored flowers, 
In token of good will. 

" And sundry-colored ribbons 
On it I will bestow ; 
But chiefly blacke and yellowe 
TVith her to grave shall go. 

'* I'll deck her tomb with flowers 
The rarest ever seen ; 
And with my tears as showers 
I'll keep them fresh and green." 

The white rose, we are told, was planted at the grave of 
a virgin; her chaplet was tied with white ribbons, in token 



138 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOIT IRVING. 

of lier spotless innocence; though sometimes black ribbons 
were intermingled^ to bespeak the grief of the survivors. 
The red rose was occasionally used^ in remembrance of 
such as had been remarkable for benevolence; but roses in 
general were appropriated to the graves of lovers. Evelyn 
tells us that the custom was not altogether extinct in his 
timC;, near his dwelling in the county of Surrey^ " where 
the maidens yearly planted and decked the graves of their 
defunct sweethearts with rose-bushes/^ And Camden like- 
wise remarks^ in his Brittania: " Here is also a certain 
custom, observed time out of mind, of planting rose-trees 
upon the graves, especially by the young men and maids 
who have lost their loves; so that this church-yard is now 
full of them/' 

When the deceased had been unhappy in their loves, em- 
blems of a more gloomy character were used, such as the 
yew and C3rpress; and if flowers were strewn, they were of 
the most melancholy colors. Thus, in poems by Thomas 
Stanley, Esq. (published in 1651), is the following stanza: 

"Yet strew 
Upon my dismall grave 
Such offerings as you have, 

Forsaken cypresse and yewe; 
For kinder flowers can take no birth 
Or growth from such unhappy earth." 

In " The Maid's Tragedy,'' a pathetic little air is intro- 
duced, illustrative of this mode of decorating the funerals 
of females who have been disappointed in love. 

" Lay a garland on my hearse 
Of the dismal yew, 
Maidens willow branches wear. 
Say I died true. 

** My love was false, but I was firm. 
From my hour of birth, 
Upon my buried body lie 
Lightly, gentle earth." 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOK, GENT. 139 

The natural effect of sorrow over the cleaxi is to refine 
and elevate the mind; and we have a proof of it in the 
purity of sentiment, and the unaffected elegance of 
thought, which pervaded the whole of these funeral observ- 
ances. Thus, it was an especial precaution that none but 
sweet-scented evergreens and flowers shoidd be employed. 
The intention seems to have been to soften the horrors of 
the tomb, to beguile the mind from brooding over the dis- 
graces of perishing mortality, and to associate the memory 
of the deceased with the most delicate and beautiful objects 
in nature. There is a dismal process going on in the 
grave, ere dust can return to its kindred dust, which the 
imagination shrinks from contemplating; and we seek still 
to think of the form we have loved, with those refined 
associations which it awakened when blooming before us in 
youth and beauty. *' Lay her i' the earth,^^ says Laertes 
of his virgin sister, 

" And from her fair and unpolluted flesli 
May violets spring." 

Herrick, also, in liis '' Dirge of Jephtha,^' jDOurs forth a 
fragrant flow of poetical thought and image, which in a 
manner embalms the dead in the recollections of the living. 

" Sleep in thy peace, thy bed of spice, 
And make this place all Paradise: 
May sweets grow here! and smoke from hence 

Farfrankincense. 
Let balme and cassia send their scent 
From out thy maiden monument. 

* * * 4«- * 

May all shie maids at wonted hours 
Come forth to strew thy tombe with tiowers! 
May virgins, when they come to mourn 

Male incense burn 
Upon thine altar! then return 
And leave thee sleeping in thy urn." 

I might crowd my pages with extracts from the older 
British poets, who wrote when these rites were more prev- 



140 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRYING. 

alent, and delighted frequently to allude to them; but I 
have already quoted more than is necessary. I can not, 
however, refrain from giving a passage from Shakespeare, 
even though it should appear trite, which illustrates the 
emblematical meaning often conveyed in these Jloral 
tributes, and at the same time possesses that magic of 
language and appositeness of imagery for which he stands 
pre-eminent. 

" With fairest flowers, 
Whilst summer lasts, and 1 live here, Fidele, 
I'll sweeten thy sad grave ; thou shalt not lack 
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor 
The azured harebell like thy veins ; no, nor 
The leaf of eglantine; whom not to slander, 
Outsweetened not thy breath." 

There is certainly something more affecting in these 
prompt and spontaneous offerings of nature, than in the 
most costly monuments of art; the hand strews the flower 
while the heart is warm, and the tear falls on the grave as 
affection is binding the osier round the sod; but pathos ex- 
pires imder the slow labor of the chisel, and is chilled 
among the cold conceits of sculptured marble. 

It is greatly to be regretted, that a custom so truly ele- 
gant and touching has disappeared from general use, and 
exists only in the most remote and insignificant villages. 
But it seems as if poetical custom always shuns the walks 
of cultivated society. In proportion as people grow polite, 
they cease to be poetical. They talk of poetry, but they 
have learned to check its free impulses, to distrust its sally- 
ing emotions, and to supply its most affecting and pict- 
uresque usages, by studied form and pompous ceremonial. 
Pew pageants can be more stately and frigid than an En- 
glish funeral in town. It is made up of show and gloomy 
parade: mourning carriages, mourning horses, mourning 
plumes, and hireling mourners, who make a mockery of 
grief, '' There is a grave digged/^ says Jeremy Taylor, 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 141 

'' and a solemn mourning, and a great talk in tlie ncigli- 
borhoal, and when the dales are finished, they shall be, and 
they shall be remembered no more/^ The associate in the 
gay and crowded city is soon forgotten : the hurrying suc- 
cession of new intimates and new pleasures effaces him from 
our minds, and the very scenes and circles in which he 
moved are incessantly fluctuating. But funerals in the 
country are solemnly impressive. The stroke of death 
makes a wider space in the village circle, and is an awful 
event in the tranquil uniformity of rural life. The passing 
bell tolls its knell in every ear; it steals with its pervading 
melancholy over hill and vale, and saddens all the land- 
scape. 

The fixed and unchanging features of the country, also, 
perpetuate the memory of the friend with whom we once 
enjoyed them; who was the companion of our most retired 
walks, and gave animation to every lonely scene. His idea 
is associated with every charm of Nature : we hear his voice 
in the echo which he once delighted to awaken; his spirit 
haunts the grove which he once frequented; we think of 
him in the wild upland solitude, or amidst the pensive 
beauty of the valley. . In the freshness of joyous morning 
we remember his beaming smiles and bounding gayety; 
and when sober evening returns, with its gathering shadows 
and subduing quiet, we call to mind many a twilight hour 
of gentle talk and sweet-souled melancholy. 

** Each lonely place shall him restore, 
For him the tear be duly shed. 
Beloved, till life can charm no more. 
And mourn'd till pity's self be dead." 

Another cause that perpetuates the memory of the de- 
ceased in the country, is, that the grave is more immediate- 
ly in sight of the survivors. They pass it on their way to 
prayer; it meets their eyes when their hearts are softened 
by the exercise of devotion; they linger about it on the Sab- 
"bath, when the mind is disengaged from worldly cares, and 



143 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

most disposed , to turn aside from jiresent pleasures and 
loves^ and to sit down among the solemn mementos of the 
past. In North Wales, the peasantry kneel and pray over 
the graves of their deceased friends for several Sundays 
after the interment; and where the tender rite of strewing 
and planting flowers is still practiced, it is always renewed 
on Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, when the sea- 
son brings the companion of former festivity more vividly 
to mind. It is also invariably performed by the nearest 
relatives and friends; no menials nor hirelings are em- 
i:>lo3^ed, and if a neighbor yields assistance, it would be 
deemed an insult to oifer compensation. 

I have dwelt upon this beautiful rural custom, because, 
as it is one of the last, so is it one of the holiest offices of 
love. The grave is the ordeal of true affection. It is there 
that the divine passion of the soul manifests its superiority 
to the instinctive impulse of mere animal attachment. The 
latter must be continually refreshed and kept alive by the 
presence of its object; but the love that is seated in the soul 
can live on long remembrance. The mere inclinations of 
sense languish and decline with the charms which excited 
them, and turn with shuddering and disgust from the dis- 
mal precincts of the tomb ; but it is thence that truly 
spiritual affection rises purified from every sensual desire, 
and returns, like a holy flame, to illumine and sanctify the 
heart of the survivor. 

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which 
we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to 
heal — every other affliction to forget; but this wound we 
consider it a duty to kee23 open — this affliction we cherish 
and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who 
would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blos- 
som from her arms though every recollection is a pang? 
Where is the child that would willingly forget the most ten- 
der of parents, though to remember be but to lament? 
WhO; even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 143 

over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is clos- 
ing upon the remains of her he most loved; when he feels 
his heart, as it were, crushed in the closmg of its portals; 
would accept of consolation that must be bought by forget- 
fulness? Xo, the love which survives the tomb is one of 
the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes it has 
likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of 
grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection — when 
the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the pres- 
ent ruins of all that we most loved, is softened away into 
pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its love- 
liness — who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? 
Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the 
bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the 
hour of gloom; yet who would exchange it even for the song 
of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No, there is a voice 
from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remem- 
brance of the dead, to which we turn even from the charms 
of the living. Oh, the grave ! — the grave ! It buries every 
error — covers every defect — extinguishes every resentment I 
From its peaceful bosom sj)ring none but fond regrets and 
tender recollections. Who can look down upon the grave 
even of an enemy and not feel a compunctious throb, that 
he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth 
that lies moldering before him? 

But the grave of those we loved — what a place for medi- 
tation ! There it is that we call up in long review the whole 
history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endear- 
ments lavished U230n us almost unheeded in the daily inter- 
course of intimacy; there it is that we dwell upon the ten- 
derness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene. 
The bed of death, with all its stifled griefs — its noiseless 
attendance — its mute, watchful assiduities. The last testi-* 
monies of expiring love! The feeble, fluttering, thrilling, 
oh I how thrilling! — pressure of the hand. The last fond 
look of the glazing eye, turning upon us even from the 



144 WORKS OF WASHINGTOK IRVIKG. 

threshold of existence. The faint, faltering accents, strug- 
gling in death to give one more assurance of affection ! 

Ay, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate! There 
settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit 
unrequited, every past endearment unregarded, of that de- 
parted being, who can never — never — never return to be 
soothed by thy contrition! 

if thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the 
soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate 
parent — if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the 
fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms, 
to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth — if thou 
art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, word or 
deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee — if thou 
art a lover and hast ever given one unmerited pang to that 
true heart which now lies cold and still beneath thy feet; 
then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious 
word, every migentle action, will come thronging back 
upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy soul — 
then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repent- 
ant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and po*r 
the unavailing tear — more deep, more bitter, because un- 
heard and unavailing. 

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beau- 
ties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if 
thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret; 
but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite 
affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful 
and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living. 



In writing the preceding article, it was not intended to 
give a full detail of the funeral customs of the English 
peasantry, but merely to furnish a few hints and quotations 
illustrative of particular rites, to be appended, by way of 
note, to another paper, which has been withheld. The 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOIT, GENT. 145 

article swelled insensibly into its i:)resent form^ and this is 
mentioned as an apology for so brief and casual a notice of 
these usages, after they have been amply and learnedly in- 
vestigated in other works. 

I must observe, also, that I am well aware that this cus- 
tom of adorning graves with flowers, prevails in other coun- 
tries besides England. Indeed, in some it is much more 
general, and is observed even by the rich and fashionable; 
but it is then ajot to lose its simplicity, and to degenerate 
into affectation. Bright, in his travels in Lower Hungary, 
tells of monuments of marble, and recesses formed for re- 
tirement, with seats j)laced among bowers of green-house 
jDlants; and that the graves generally are covered with the 
gayest flowers of the season. He gives a casual picture of 
filial piety, which I can not but describe, for I trust it is as 
useful as it is delightful to illustrate the amiable virtues of 
the sex. " When I was at Berlin," says he, '^ I followed 
the celebrated Iffland to the grave. Mingled with some 
pomp, you might trace much real feeling. In the midst of 
the ceremony, my attention was attracted by a young 
woman who stood on a mound of earth, newly covered with 
turf, which she anxiously protected from the feet of the 
passing crowd. It was the tomb of her parent; and the fig- 
ure of this affectionate daughter presented a monument 
more striking than the most costly work of art.'^ 

I will barely add an instance of sepulchral decoration 
that I once met with among the mountains of Switzerland. 
It was at the village of Gersau, which stands on the borders 
of the Lake of Luzerne, at the foot of Mount Rigi. It was 
once the capital of a miniature republic, shut up between 
the Alps and the lake, and accessible on the land side only 
by foot-paths. The whole force of the republic did not ex- 
ceed six hundred fighting men; and a few miles of circum- 
ference, scooped out, as it were, from the bosom of the 
mountains, comprised its territory. The village of Gersau 
seemed separated from the rest of the world, and retained 



146 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IKVING. 

the golden simjilicity of a purer age. It had a small 
churchy with a bnr3dng-ground adjoining. At the heads 
of the graves were placed crosses of wood or iron. On some 
were affixed miniatures^ rudely executed^ but evidently at- 
tempts at likenesses of the deceased. On the crosses were 
hung chaplets of flowers^ some withering^, others fresh^ as 
if occasionally renewed. I paused with interest at the 
scene; I felt that I was at the source of poetical description^ 
for these were the beautiful^ but unaffected offerings of the 
hearty which poets are fain to record. In a gayer and more 
23opulous place, I should have suspected them to have been 
suggested by factitious sentiment, derived from books; but 
the good people of Gersau knew little of books; there was 
not a novel nor a love poem in the village; and I question 
whether any peasant of the place dreamed, while he was 
twining a fresh chaplet for the grave of his mistress, that 
he was fulfilling one of the most fanciful rites of poetical 
devotion, and that he was practically a poet. 



THE INN KITCHEN 

Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn? 

Falstaff. 

During a journey that I once made through the Nether- 
lands, I had arrived one evening at the Pomme d^Or, the 
principal inn of a small Flemish village. It was after the 
hour of the taUe d^hote, so that I was obliged to make a 
solitary supper from the relics of its ampler board. The 
weather was chilly; I was seated alone in one end of a great 
gloomy dining-room, and my repast being over, I had the 
prospect before me of a long dull evening, without any visi- 
ble means of enlivening it. I summoned mine host, and 
requested sometliing to read; he brought me the whole 
literary stock of his household, a Dutch family Bible, an 



SKETOH-BOOK OF GEOFFRi:Y CliAYON^ GENT. 147 

almanac in the same language, and a number of old Paris 
newspapers. As I sat dozing over one of the latter, read- 
ing old news and stale criticisms, my ear was now and then 
struck with bursts of laughter which seemed to proceed 
from the kitchen. Every one that has traveled on the Con- 
tinent must know how favorite a resort the kitchen of 
a country inn is to the middle and inferior order of travel- 
ers; particularly in that equivocal kind of weather when a 
fire becomes agreeable toward evening. I threw aside the 
newspaper, and explored my way to the kitchen, to take a 
j)eep at the group that appeared to be so merry. It was 
composed partly of travelers who had arrived some hours 
before in a diligence, and partly of the usual attendants 
and hangers-on of inns. They were seated around a great 
burnished stove, that might have been mistaken for an 
altar, at which they were worshiping. It was covered with 
various kitchen vessels of res]3lendent brightness; among 
which steamed and hissed a huge copper tea-kettle. A 
large lamp threw a strong mass of light upon the group, 
bringing out many odd features in strong relief. Its yellow 
rays partially illumined the spacious kitchen, dying duskily 
away into remote corners; except where they settled in 
mellow radiance on the broad side of a flitch of bacon, or 
were reflected back from well-scoured utensils that gleamed 
from the midst of obscurity. A straj^ping Flemish lass, 
with long golden pendants in her ears, and a necklace with 
a golden heart suspended to it, was presiding priestess of 
the temple. 

Many of the company were furnished with pipes, and 
most of them with some kind of evening potation. I found 
their mirth was occasioned by anecdotes which a little 
swarthy Frenchman, with a dry weazen face and large 
whiskers, was giving of his love adventures; at the end of 
each of which there was one of those bursts of honest un- 
ceremonious laughter, in which a man indulges in that 
temple of true liberty^ an inn. 



148 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRYIH©. 

As I had no better mode of getting through a tedious 
bkistering evening, I took my seat near the stove, and list- 
ened to a variety of* travelers^ tales, some very extravagant, 
and most very dull. All of them, however, have faded 
from my treacherous memory, except one, which I will en- 
deavor to relate. I fear, however, it derived its chief zest 
from the manner in which it was told, and the peculiar air 
and appearance of the narrator. He was a corpulent old 
Swiss, who had the look of a veteran traveler. He was 
dressed in a tarnished green traveling- jacket, with a broad 
belt round his waist, and a pair of overalls with buttons 
from the hips to the ankles. He was of a full, rubicund 
countenance, with a double chin, aquiline nose, and a 
jileasant twinkling eye. His hair was light, and curled 
from under an old green velvet traveling-cap, stuck on one 
side of his head. He was interrupted more than once by 
the arrival of guests, or the remarks of his auditors; and 
paused, now and then, to replenish his pipe; at which times 
he had generally a roguish leer, and a sly joke, for the 
buxom kitchen maid. 

I wish my reader could imagine the old fellow lolling in 
a huge arm-chair, one arm akimbo, the other holding a 
curiously twisted tobacco-pipe, formed of genuine ecume de 
oner, decorated with silver chain and silken tassel — ^his head 
cocked on one side, and a whimsical cut of the eye occa- 
sionally, as he related the following story: 



SKETCH-BOOK OP GEOFPllEY CRATON, GENT. 149 



THE 8PEGTRE BRIDEGROOM. 
A traveler's tale.* 

He that supper for is dight, 

He lyes full cold, 1 trow, this night! 

Yestreen to chamber I am led. 

This night Gray- steel has made his bed! 

Sir Eger, Sir Qrahame, and. Sir Gray-steel. 

On" the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, a 
wild and romantic tract of Upper Germany, that Hes not 
far from the confluence of the Main and the Rhine, there 
stood, many, many years since, the castle of the Baron Von 
Landshort. It is now quite fallen to decay, and almost 
buried among beech-trees and dark firs; above which, how- 
ever, its old watch-tower may still be seen struggling, hke 
the former possessor I have mentioned, to carry a high 
head, and look down upon a neighboring country. 

The baron was a dry branch of the great family of Kat- 
zenellenbogen,! and inherited the relics of the property, 
and all the pride, of his ancestors. Though the warlike 
disj)osition of his predecessors had much inqDaired the fam- 
ily possessions, yet the baron still endeavored to keep up 
some show of former state. The times were peaceable, and 
the German nobles, in general, had abandoned their incon 
venient old castles, perched like eagles' nests among the 



* The erudite reader well versed in good-for-nothing lore, wil^ 
perceive that the above Tale must have been suggested to t^o old 
Swiss by a little French anecdote of a circumstr- -^ said to have 
taken place in Paris. 

t i.e„ Cat's Elbow— the name of a family of those parts, and 
very powerful in former times. Thp appellation, we are told, was 
given in compliment to a peerless 4ame of the family, celebrated 
for a fine arm. 



I 



150 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

mountains^ and had built more convenient residences in the 
valleys; still the baron remained j)roudly drawn up in his 
little fortress^ cherishing with hereditary inveteracy all the 
old family feuds; so that he was on ill terms with some of 
his nearest neighbors, on account of disputes that had hap- 
pened between their great-great-grandfathers. 

The baron had but one child, a daughter; but Nature, 
when she grants but one child, always compensates by 
making it a prodigy; and so it was with the daughter of 
the baron. All the nurses, gossips, and country cousins, 
assured her father that she had -not her equal for beauty in 
all Germany; and who should know better than they? She 
had, moreover, been brought up with great care, under the 
superintendence of two maiden aunts, who had spent some 
years of their early life at one of the little German courts, 
and were skilled in all the branches of knowledge necessary 
to the education of a fine lady. Under their instructions, 
she became a miracle of accomplishments. By the time 
she was eighteen she could embroider to admiration, and 
had worked whole histories of the saints in tapestry, with 
such strength of exj)ression in their countenances, that they 
looked like so many souls in purgatory. She could read 
without great difficulty, and had spelled her way through 
several church legends, and almost all the chivalric won- 
ders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made considerable 
proficiency in writing, could sign her own name without 
missing a letter, and so legibly, that her aunts could read 
it without spectacles. She excelled in making little good- 
for-nothing lady -like knickknacks of all kinds; was versed 
iij^ the most abstruse dancing of the day; j)layed a number 
of airs ou ihp harp and guitar; and knew all the tender 
ballads of the Mil -.'e-heders by heart. 

Her aunts, too, havnx^^ been great flirts and coquettes in 
their younger days, were admirably calculated to be vigi- 
lant guardians and strict Ct^usors of the conduct of their 
niece^ for there is no duenna bo rigidly prudent, and inex- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF aFOFFUEY CRAYON, GENT. 151 

orably decorous, as a superannuated coquette. She was 
rarely suffered out of their sight; never went beyond the 
domains of the castle, unless welf attended, or rather well 
watched; had continual lectures read to her about strict 
decorum and implicit obedience; and, as to the men — i)alil 
-he was taught to hold them at such distance and distrust, 
iiat, unless j^roperly authorized, she would not have cast a 
glance upon the handsomest cavalier in the world — no, not 
if he were even dying at her feet. , . ' 

The good effects of this system were wonderfully appar- 
ent. -The young lady was a pattern of docility and correct- 
ness. While others were wasting their sweetness in the 
glare of the world, and liable to be plucked and thrown 
aside by every hand, she was coyly blooming into fresh and 
lovely womanhood under the protection of those immacu- 
late spinsters like a rose-bud blushing forth among guard- 
ian thorns. Her aunts looked upon her with pride and 
exultation, and vaunted that though all the other young 
ladies in the world might go astray, yet, thank Heaven, 
nothing of the kind could haj^pen to the heiress of Katzen- 
ellenbogen. 

But however scantily the Baron Yon Landshort might 
be provided with children, his household was by no means 
a small one, for Providence had enriched him with abun- 
dance of poor relations. They, one and all, possessed the 
affectionate disposition common to humble relatives; w^ere 
wonderfully attached to the baron, and took every possible 
occasion to come in swarms and enliven the castle. All 
family festivals were commemorated by these good peoj^le 
at the baron's expense; and when they were filled with 
good cheer, they would declare that there was nothing on 
earth so delightful as these family meetings, these jubilees 
of the heart. 

The baron, though a small man, had a large soul, and it 
swelled with satisfaction at the consciousness of being the 
greatest man in the little world about him. He loved i^ 



152 WORKS OF WASHIlSrGTOK IRVINa, 

tell long stories about the stark old warriors whose portraits 
looked grimly down from, the walls around, and he found 
no listeners equal to those who fed at his expense. He was 
much given to the marvelous, and a firm believer in all 
those supernatural tales with which every mountain and 
valley in Germany abounds. The faith of his guests even 
exceeded his own : they hstened to every tale of wonder with 
open eyes and mouth, and never failed to be astonished, 
even though repeated for the hundredth time. Thus lived 
the Baron Von Landshort, the oracle of his table, the abso- 
lute monarch of his little territory, and happy, above all 
things, in the persuasion that he was the wisest man of the age. 

At the time of which my story treats, there was a great 
family-gathering at the castle, on an affair of the utmost 
importance: — it was to receive the destined bridegroom of 
the baron^s daughter. A negotiation had been carried on 
between the father and an old nobleman of Bavaria, to 
unite the 'dignity of their houses by the marriage of their 
children. The lareliminaries had been conducted with 
proper punctilio. The young people were betrothed with- 
out seeing each other, and the time was appointed for the 
marriage ceremony. The young Count Von Altenburg 
had been recalled from the army for the purpose, and was 
actually on his way to the baron^s to receive his bride. 
Missives had even been received from him, from Wurtz- 
burg, where he was accidentally detained, mentioning the. 
day and hour when he might be expected to arrive. 

The castle was in a tumult of preparation to giye him a 
suitable welcome. The fair bride had been decked out with 
uncommon care. The two aunts had superintended her 
toilet, and quarreled the whole morning about every article 
of her dress. The young lady had taken advantage of their 
contest to follow the bent of her own taste; and fortunately 
it was a good one. She looked as lovely as youthful bride- 
groom could desire; and the flutter of her expectation 
heightened the luster of her charms. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 153 

The suffusions that mantled her face and neck, the gen- 
tle heaving of tlie bosom, the eye now and then lost m 
reverie, all betrayed the soft tumult that was going on in 
her little heart. The aunts were continually hovering 
around her; for maiden aunts are apt to take great inter- 
est in affairs of this nature : they were giving her a world 
of staid counsel how to deport herself, what to say, and in 
what manner to receive the expected lover. 

The baron was no less busied in preparations. He had, 
in truth, nothing exactly to do; but he was naturally a 
fuming, bustling little man, and could not remain passive 
when all the world was in a hurry. He worried from top 
to bottom of the castle, with an air of infinite anxiety, he 
continually called the servants from their work to exliort 
them to be diligent, and buzzed about every hall and cham- 
ber, as idly restless and importunate as a blue-bottle fly of 
a warm summer's day. 

In the meantime, the fatted calf had been killed; the 
forests had rung with the clamor of the himtsmen; the 
kitchen was crowded with good cheer; the cellars had 
yielded up whole oceans of Rhein-iuein and Ferne-iuein, 
and even the great Heidelberg tun had been laid under 
contribution. Everytliing was ready to receive the distin- 
guished guest with Saus und Braus in the true spirit of 
German hospitality — but the guest delayed to make his 
appearance. Hour rolled after hour. The sun that had 
poured his downward rays upon the rich forest of the 
Odenwald, now just gleamed along the summits of the 
mountains. The baron mounted the liighest tower, and 
strained his eyes in hopes of catching a distant sight of the 
count and his attendants. Once he thought he beheld 
them; the sound of horns came floatmg from the valley, 
prolonged by the mountain echoes: a number of horsemen 
were seen far below, slowly advancing along the road; 
but when they had nearly reached the foot of the mount- 
ain, they suddenly struck off in a different direction. The 



154 WORKS OF WASHHsTGTON IRVIl^G. 

last ray of simshine departed — the bats began to flit by in 
the twihght — the road grew dimmer and dimmer to the 
view; and nothing appeared stirring in it, but now and 
tlien a peasant lagging homeward from his labor. 

While the old Castle of Landshort was in this state of 
jjerplexity, a very interesting scene was transacting in a 
different part of the Odenwald. 

The young Count Von Altenburg was tranquilly pursu- 
ing his route in that sober jog-trot way in which a man 
travels toward matrimony when his friends have taken all 
the trouble and uncertainty of courtship off his hands, and a 
bride is waiting for him, as certainly as a dinner, at the 
end of his Journey. He had encountered at Wurtzburg a 
youthful companion in arms, with whom he had seen some 
service on the frontiers; Herman Von Starkenfaust, one 
of the stoutest hands and worthiest hearts of German 
chivalry, who was now returning from the army. His fa- 
therms castle was not far distant from the fortress of Land- 
short, although a hereditary feud rendered the families 
hostile, and strangers to each other. 

In the warm-hearted moment of recognition, the young 
friends related all their past adventures and fortunes, and 
the count gave the whole history of his intended nuptials 
with a young lady whom he had never seen, but of whose 
charms he had received the most enrapturing descriptions. 

As the route of the friends lay in the same direction, 
they agreed to perform the rest of their journey together; 
and that they might do it more leisurely, set off from 
Wurtzburg at an early hour, the count having given direc- 
tions for his retinue to follow and overtake him. 

They beguiled their wayfaring with recollections of their 
military scenes and adventures; but the count was apt to 
be a little tedious, now and then, about the reputed charms 
of his bride, and the felicity that awaited him. 

In this way they had entered among the mountains of 
the Odenwald^ and were traversmg one of its most lonely 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 155 

and thickly wooded passes. It is well known that the 
forests of Germany have always been as much infested with 
robbers as its castles by specters; and, at this time, the 
former were particularly numerous, from the hordes of 
disbanded soldiers wandering about the country. It will 
7iot appear extraordinary, therefore, that the cavaliers were 
attacked by a gang of these stragglers, in the midst of the 
forest. They defended themselves with bravery, but were 
nearly overpowered when the count's retinue arrived to 
their assistance. At sight of them the robbers fled, but 
not until the count had received a mortal wound. He was 
slowly and carefully conveyed back to the city of AVurtz- 
burg, and a friar summoned from a neighboring convent, 
who was famous for his skill in administering to both soul 
and body. But half of his skill was superfluous; the mo- 
ments of the unfortunate count were numbered. 

With his dying breath he entreated his friend to repair 
instantly to the castle of Landshort, and explain the fatal 
cause of his not keeping his appointment with his bride. 
Though not the most ardent of lovers, he was one of the 
most punctihous of men, and appeared earnestly solicitous 
that this mission should be speedily and courteously exe- 
cuted. '^ Unless this is done,'' said he, "I shall not sleep 
quietly in my grave !" He repeated these last words with 
peculiar solemnity. A request, at a moment so imj^ressive, 
admitted no hesitation. Starkenfaust endeavored to soothe 
him to calmness; promised faithfully to execute his wish, 
and gave him his hand in solemn pledge. The dying man 
pressed it in acknowledgment, but soon lapsed into de- 
lirium — raved about his bride — ^his engagements — his 
plighted word; ordered his horse, that he might ride to the 
castle of 'Landshort, and expired in the fancied act of 
vaulting into the saddle. 

Starkenfaust bestowed a sigh, and a soldier's tear on the 
untimely fate of his comrade; and then pondered on the 
awkwai'd mission he had undei-taken. His heart was heavy. 



156 WORKS OF WASHIITCtTOK IRVIKG^. 

and his head perplexed; for he was to present himself an 
unbidden guest among hostile people, and to damp their 
festivity with tidings fatal to their hopes. Still there were 
certain whisperings of curiosity in his bosom to see this far- 
famed beauty of Katzenellenbogen, so cautiously shut up 
from the world; for he was a passionate admirer of the sex, 
and there was a dash of eccentricity and enterprise in his 
character, that made him fond of all singular adyenture. 

Previous to his departure, he made all due arrangements 
with the holy fraternity of the convent for the funeral 
solemnities of his friend, who was to be buried in the 
Cathedral of Wurtzburg, near some of his illustrious rela- 
tives and the mourning retinue of the count took charge of 
his remains. 

It is now high time that we should return to the ancient 
family of Katzenellenbogen, who were impatient for their 
guests, and still more for their dinner; and to the worthy 
little baron, whom we left airing himself on the watch tower. 

Night closed in, but still no guest arrived. The baron 
descended from the tower in despair. The banquet, which 
had been delayed from hour to hour, could no longer be 
postponed. The meats were already overdone; the cook in 
an agony; and the whole household had the look of a gar- 
rison that had been reduced by famine. The baron was 
obliged reluctantly to give orders for the feast without the 
presence of the guest. All were seated at table, and just 
on the point of commencing, when the sound of a horn 
from without the gate gave notice of the approach of a 
stranger. Another long blast filled the old courts of the 
castle with its echoes, and was answered by the warder 
from the walls. The baron hastened to receive his future 
son-in-law. 

The drawbridge had been let down, and the stranger ^m 
before the gate. He was a tall gallant cavalier, moun^ 
on a black steed. His countenance was pale, but he had a 
beaming, romantic Qy% and an air of stately melancholy. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GEl^T. 157 

The baron was a little mortified that he should have come 
in this simple, solilaiy style. His dignity for a moment 
was ruffled, and he felt disposed to consider it a want of 
proper respect for the important occasion, and the impor- 
tant family with which he was to be connected. He paci- 
fied himself, however, with the conclusion that it must 
have been youthful impatience which had induced him 
'thus to spur on sooner than his attendants. 

" I am sorry, ^^ said the stranger, ^* to break in upon you 
thus unseasonably — ^' 

Here the baron interrupted him with a world of compli- 
ments and greetings; for, to tell the truth, he prided him- 
self upon his courtesy and his eloquence. The stranger 
attempted, once or twice, to stem the torrent of words, but 
in vain; so he bowed his head and suffered it to flow on. 
By the time the baron had come to a pause, they had 
reached the inner court of the castle; and the stranger was 
again about to speak, when he was once more interrupted 
by the appearance of the female part of the family, leading 
forth the shrinking and blushing bride. He gazed on her 
for a moment as one entranced; it seemed as if his whole 
soul beamed forth in the gaze, and rested upon that lovely 
form. One of the maiden aunts whispered something in 
her ear; she made an effort to speak; her moist blue eye 
was timidly raised, gave a shy glance of inquiry on the 
stranger, and was cast again to the ground. The words 
died away; but there was a sweet smile playing about her 
lips, and a soft dimpling of the cheek, that showed her 
glance had not been unsatisfactory. It was impossible for 
a girl of the fond age of eighteen, highly predisposed for 
love and matrimony, not to be pleased with so gallant a 
cavalier. 

The late hour at which the guest had arrived, left no 
time for parley. The baron was peremptory, and deferred 
all particular conversation mitil the morning, and led the 
way to the untasted banquet. 



158 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

It was served up in tlie great hall of the castle. Around 
the walls hung the hard-favored portraits of the heroes of 
the house of Katzenellenbogen^ and the trophies which they 
had gained in the field and in the chase. Hacked crosslets, 
splintered Jousting spears^ and tattered banners^ were 
mingled with the spoils of sylvan warfare: the jaws of the 
wolf^ and the tusks of the boar, grinned horribly among 
crossbows and battle-axes, and a huge pair of antlers 
branched immediately over the head of the youthful bride- 
groom. 

The cavalier took but little notice of the company or the 
entertainment. He scarcely tasted the banquet, but seemed 
absorbed in admiration of his bride. He conversed in a low 
tone, that could not be overheard — for the language of love 
is never loud; but where is the female ear so duUthat it 
can not catch the softest whisper of the lover? There was 
a mingled tenderness and gravity in his manner that ap- 
peared to have a powerful effect upon the young lady. Her 
color came and went, as she listened with deep attention. 
'Now and then she made some blushing reply, and when 
his eye was turned away, she would steal a sidelong glance 
at his romantic countenance, and heave a gentle sigh of 
tender happiness. It was evident that the young couple 
were completely enamored. The aunts, who were deeply 
versed in the mysteries of the heart, declared that they had 
fallen in love with each other at first sight. 

The feast went on merrily, or at least noisily, for the 
guests were all blessed with those keen appetites that attend 
upon light purses and mountain air. The baron told his 
best and longest stories, and never had he told them so 
well, or with such great effeet. If there was anjrthing 
marvelous, his auditors were lost in astonishment: and if 
anything facetious, they were sure to laugh exactly in the 
right place. The baron, it is true, like most great men, 
was too dignified to utter any joke but a dull one; it was 
always enforced, however, ])y a bumper of excellent Hoch- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GKOFFKEY CliAlON, GENT. 159 

heimer; and even a dull joke, at one's own table, served 
lip with jolly old wine, is irresistible. Many good things 
were said by poorer and keener wits, that would not bear 
repeating, except on similar occasions; many sly speeches 
wliispered in ladies' ears, that almost convulsed them 
with suppressed laughter; and a song or two roared out by 
a poor, but merry and broad-faced cousin of the baron, 
that absolutely made the maiden aunts hold up their fans. 

Amidst all this revelry, the stranger guest maintained a 
most singular and unseasonable gravity. His countenance 
assumed a deeper cast of dejection as the evening advanced, 
and, strange as it may appear, even the baron's jokes 
seemed only to render him the more melancholy. At 
times he was lost in thought, and at times there was a 
perturbed and restless wandering of the eye that bespoke a 
mind but ill at ease. His conversation with the bride be- 
came more and more earnest and mysterious. Lowering 
clouds began to steal over the fair serenity of her brow, and 
tremors to run through her tender frame. 

All this could not escape the notice of the company. 
Their gayety was chilled by the unaccountable gloom of 
the bridegroom; their spirits were infected; w^hispers and 
glances were interchanged, accompanied by shrugs and 
dubious shakes of the head. The song and the laugh grew 
less and less frequent: there were dreary pauses in the con- 
versation, which were at length succeeded by wild tales, 
and supernatural legends. One dismal story produced 
another still more dismal, and the baron nearly frightened 
some of the ladies into hysterics with the history of the 
goblin horseman that carried away the fair Leonora — a 
dreadful, but true story, which has since been put into ex- 
cellent verse, and is read and believed by all the world. 

The bridegroom listened to this tale with profound atten- 
tion. He kept his eyes steadily fixed on the baron, and as 
the story drew to a close, l^egan gradually to rise from his 
seat, growing tallci- and taller, until, in the baron's en- 



160 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOif IRVHiTG. 

tranced eye^ lie seemed almost to tower into a giant. The 
moment the tale was finished^ he heaved a deep sigh, and* 
took a solemn farewell of the company. They were all 
amazement. The baron was perfectly thunderstruck. 

" What! going to leave the castle at midnight? why, 
everything was prepared for his reception; a chamber was 
ready for him if he wished to retire. ^^ 

The stranger shook his head mournfully and mysteri- 
ously: " I must lay my head in a different chamber to- 
night!'' 

There was something in this reply, and the tone in 
which it was uttered, that made the baron^s heart misgive 
him; but he rallied his forces, and repeated his hospitable 
entreaties. The strainger shook his head silently, but 
positively, at every offer; and waving his farewell to the 
company, stalked slowly out of the hall. The maiden 
aunts were absolutely petrified — the bride hung her head, 
and a tear stole to her eye. 

The baron followed the stranger to the great court of 
the castle, where the black charger stood pawing the earth, 
and snorting with impatience. When they had reached 
the portal, whose deep archway was dimly lighted by a 
cresset^ the stranger paused, and addressed the baron in a 
hollow tone of voice, which the vaulted roof rendered still 
more sejDulchral. " Now that we are alone," said he, " I 
will impart to you the reason of my going. I have a 
solemn, an indispensable engagement — " 

*^ Why," said the baron, '^ can not you send some one 
in your place?" 

" It admits of no substitute — I must attend it in person 
— I must away to Wurtzburg cathedral — " 

" Ay," said the baron, plucking up spirit, " but not un- 
til to-morrow — ^to-morrow you shall take your bride there." 

" ISTo! no!" replied the stranger, with tenfold solemnity, 
'^ my engagement is with no bride — the worms! the worms 
expect me! I am a dead man — I have been slain by rob- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 161 

bers — my body lies at Wurtzburg — at midnight I am to be 
buried — the grave is waiting for me — I must keep my ap- 
pointment!'" 

He sprung on his black charger^ dashed over the draw- 
bridge;, and the clattering of his horse's hoofs was lost in 
the whistling of the night-blast. 

The baron returned to the hall in the utmost consterna- 
tion, and related what had passed. Two ladies fainted 
outright; others sickened at the idea of having banqueted 
with a specter. It was the opinion of some, that this 
might be the wild huntsman famous in German legend. 
Some talked of mountain sprites, of wood-demons, and of 
other supernatural beings, with which the good j^eoj^le of 
Germany have been so grievously harassed since time im- 
memorial. One of the poor relations ventured to suggest 
that it might be some S230rtive evasion of the young 
cavalier, and that the very gloomhiess of the caprice 
seemed to accord with so melancholy a j^ersonage. This, 
however, drew on him the indignation of the whole com- 
pany, and especially of the baron, who looked upon him as 
little better than an infidel; so that he was fain to abjure 
his heresy as speedily as possible, and come into the faith 
of the true believers. 

But, whatever may have been the doubts entertained, 
they were completely put to an end by the arrival, next 
day, of regular missives, confirming the intelligence of the 
young count's murder, and his interment in Wurtzburg 
cathedral. 

The dismay at the castle may well be imagined. The 
baron shut himself up in his chamber. The guests who 
had come to rejoice with him could not think of abandon- 
ing him in his distress. They wandered about the courts, 
or collected in groups in the hall, shaking their heads and 
shrugging their shoulders, at the troubles of so good a 
man; and sat longer than ever at table, and eat and drunk 
more stoutly than ever, by way of keej^ing up their spirits. 



163 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVUsTG. 

But the situation of the widowed bride was the most pitia- 
ble. To have lost a husband before she had even embraced 
him — and such a husband ! if the very specter could be so 
gracious and noble^ what must have been the living man? 
She filled the house with lamentations. 

On the night of the second day of her widowhood, she 
had retired to her chamber, accomj)anied by one of her 
aunts, who insisted on sleeping with her. The aunt, who^ 
was one of the best tellers of ghost stories in all Germany, 
had just been recounting one of her longest, and had fallen, 
asleep in the very midst of it. The chamber was remote,, 
and overlooked a small garden. The niece lay pensivelj 
gazing at the beams of the rising moon, as they trembled 
on the leaves of an aspen-tree before the lattice. The 
castle clock had just told midnight, when a soft strain of 
music stole up from the garden. She rose hastily from 
her bed and stepped lightly to the window. A tall figure 
stood among the shadows of the trees. As it raised its 
head, a beam of moonlight fell upon the countenance- 
Heaven and earth! she beheld the SjDCcter Bridegroom! 
A loud shriek at that moment burst upon her ear, and her 
aunt, who had been awakened by the music, and had fol- 
lowed her silently to the window, fell into her arms. Whert 
she looked again, the specter had disappeared. 

Of the two females, the aunt nov/ required the most 
soothing, for she was perfectly beside herself with terror. 
As to the young lady, there was something, even in the- 
specter of her lover, that seemed endearing. There was 
still the semblance of manly beauty; and though the 
shadow of a man is but little calculated to satisfy the affec- 
tions of a love-sick girl, yet, where the substance is not to 
be had, even that is consoling. The aunt declared sh& 
would never sleep in that chamber again; the niece, for 
once, was refractory, and declared as strongly that she 
would sleep in no other in the castle : the consequence was, 
that she had to sleep in it alone; but she drew a promise 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GEKT. 1G3 

from her aunt not to relate the story of the specter, lest 
she should be denied the only melancholy pleasure left her 
on earth — that of inhabiting the chamber over which the 
guardian shade of her lover kept its nightly vigils. 

How long the good old lady would have observed this 
_[)romise is uncertain, for she dearly loved to talk of the 
marvelous, and there is a triumj^h in being the first to .tell 
a frightful story; it is, however, still quoted in the neigh- 
borhood, as a memorable instance of female secrecy, that 
she kept it to herself for a whole week; v\'hen she was sud- 
denly absolved from all further restraint, by intelligence 
brought to the breakfast-table one morning that the young 
lady was not to be found. Her room was empty — the bed 
ha<:l not been slept in — the window was oj)en — and the bird 
had flown! 

The astonishment and concern with which the intelli- 
gence was received, can only be imagined by those who 
have witnessed the agitation which the mishaps of a great 
man cause among his friends. Even the poor relations 
paused for a moment from the indefatigable labors of the 
trencher; when the aunt, who had at first been struck 
speechless, wrung her hands and shrieked out, " The gob- 
lin! the goblin! she^s carried aw^ay by the goblin !'' 

In a few words she related the fearful scene of the gar- 
den, and concluded that the specter must have carried off 
his bride. Two of the domestics corroborated the opinion^ 
for they had heard the clattering of a horse^s hoofs down 
the mountain about midnight, and had no doubt that it 
was the specter on his black charger, bearing her away to 
the tomb. All present were struck with the direful proba- 
bility; for events of the kind are extremely common in 
Germany, as many well-authenticated histories bear wit- 
ness. 

What a lamentable situation was that of the poor baron ! 
"What a heart-rending dilemma for a fond father, and a 
member of the great f am 11 y of Katzenellenbogen ! His only 



164 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVIXG. 

claugliter had either been wrapt away to the grave, or he was 
to have some wood-demon for a son-in-law, and, perchance^ 
a troop of gobhn grandchildren. As nsual, he was com- 
pletely bewildered, and all the castle in an uproar. The 
men were ordered to take horse, and scour every road and 
path and glen of the Odenwald. The baron himself had 
just .drawn on his jack-boots, girded on his sword, and was 
about to mount his steed to sally forth on the doubtful 
quest, when he was brought to a pause by a new appari- 
tion. A lady was seen approaching the castle, mounted on. 
a palfrey attended by a cavalier on horseback. She gal- 
loped up to the gate, sprung from her horse, and falling at 
the baron^s feet embraced his knees. It was his lost daugh- 
ter, and her companion — the Specter Bridegroom! The 
baron was astounded. He looked at his daughter, then at 
the specter, and almost doubted the evidence of his senses. 
The latter, too, was wonderfully improved in his apjoear- 
ance, since his visit to the world of sjoirits. His dress was^ 
splendid, and set off a noble figure of manly symmetry. 
He was no longer pale and melancholy. His fine counte- 
nance was flushed with the glow of youth, and joy rioted 
in his large dark eye. 

The mystery was soon cleared up. The cavalier (for in 
truth, as you must have known all the while, he was no 
goblin) announced himself as Sir Herman Von Starken- 
faust. He related his adventure with the young count. 
He told how he had hastened to the castle to deliver the 
unwelcome tidings, but that the eloquence of the baron 
jiad interrupted him in every attempt to tell his tale. How 
the sight of the bride had completely captivated him, and 
that, to pass a few hours near her, he had tacitly suffered 
the mistake to continue. How he had been sorely per- 
plexed in what way to make a decent retreat, until the. 
baron" s goblin stories had suggested his eccentric exit. 
How, fearing the feudal hostility of the family, he had re- 
peated his visits by stealth — had haunted the garden be- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GEXT. 165 

neatli the young lady's window — ^liad wooed — had won — 
had borne away in triumph — and, in a word, had wedded 
the fair. 

Under any other circumstances, the baron would have 
been inflexible, for he was tenacious of paternal authority, 
and devoutly obstinate in all family feuds; but he loved his 
daughter; he had lamented her as lost; he rejoiced to find 
her still alive ; and, though her husband was of a hostile 
house, yet, thank Heaven, he was not a goblin. There 
was something, it must be acknowledged, that did not ex- 
actly accord with his notions of strict veracity, in the joke 
the knight had passed upon him of his being a dead man ; 
but several old friends j)resent, who had served in the wars, 
assured him that every stratagem was excusable in loVe, 
and that the cavalier was entitled to especial privilege, hav- 
ing lately served as a trooper. 

Matters, therefore, were happily arranged. The* baron 
pardoned the young couple on the spot. The revels at the 
castle were resumed. The poor relations overwhelmed this 
new member of the family with loving kindness; he was so 
gallant, so generous — and so rich. The aunts, it is true, 
were somewhat scandalized that their system of strict seclu- 
sio7i and passive obedience should be so badly exemphfied, 
but attributed it all to their negligence in not having the 
windows grated. One of them was particularly mortified 
at having her marvelous story marred, and that the only 
specter she had ever seen should turn out a counterfeit; 
but the niece seemed perfectly happy at having found him 
substantial flesh and blood — and so the story ends. 



166 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON lETlNG. 



WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 

"When 1 behold, with deep astonishment. 
To famous Westminster how there resorte. 
Living in brasse or stony monument, 
The princes and the worthies of all sorte; 
Doe not I see reformde nobilitie, 
"Without contempt, or pride, or ostentation, 
And looke upon offenseless majesty, 
leaked of pomp or earthly domination? 
And how a play-game of a painted stone 
Contents the quiet now and silent sprites, 
Whome all the world which late they stood upon, 
Could not content nor quench their appetites. 
Life is a frost of cold felicitie. 
And death the thaw of all our vanitie, 

Christoleros Eyigrams, by T. B, 1598. 

On one of those sober and rather melancholy days^ in the 
latter part of autumn^ when the shadows of morning and 
evening almost mingle together^ and throw a gloom over 
the dechne of the year^ I passed several hours in rambling 
about Westminster Abbey. There was something con- 
genial to the season in the mournful magnificence of the 
old pile; and as I passed its threshold;, it seemed like step- 
ping back into the regions of antiquity^ and losing myself 
among the shades of former ages. 

I entered from the inner court of Westminster school, 
through a long, low, vaulted passage, that had an almost 
subterranean look, being dimly lighted in one part by cir- 
cular perforations in the massive walls. Through this dark 
avenue I had a distant view of the cloisters, with the figure 
of an old verger, in his black gown, moving along their 
shadowy vaults, and seeming like a specter from one of the 
neighboring tombs. 

The ap23roach to the Abbey through these gloomy monas- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CllAYOX, GENT. 1G7 

tic remains prepares the miucl for its solemn contempla- 
tion. The cloister still retains something of the quiet and 
seclusion of former days. The gray walls are discolored 
by damps, and crumbling with age; a coat of hoary moss 
has gathered over the inscriptions of the mural monu- 
ments, and obscured the death^s heads, and other funeral 
emblems. The sharp touches of the chisel are gone from 
the rich tracery of the arches; the roses which adorned the 
key-stones have lost their leafy beauty; everything bears 
marks of the gradual dilapidations of time, which yet has 
something touching and pleasing in its very decay. 

The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into 
the square of the cloisters; beaming upon a scanty plot of 
grass in the center, and lighting up an angle of the vaulted 
passage with a kind of dusky sjDlendor. From between the 
arcades, the eye glanced up to a bit of blue sky, or a pass- 
ing cloud; and beheld the sun -gilt pinnacles of the Abbey 
towering into the azure heaven. 

As I paced the cloisters, sometimes contemplating this 
mingled picture of glory and decay, and sometimes endeav- 
oring to decipher the inscriptions on the tombstones, which 
formed the pavement beneath my feet, my eyes were at- 
tracted to three figures, rudely carved in relief, but nearly 
worn away by the footstejDS of many generations. They 
were the effigies of three of the early abbots; the e2)itaphs 
were entirely efi:aced; the names alone remained, having 
no doubt been renewed in later times (Vitalis, Abbas, 
1082, and Gislebertus Crispinus, Abbas, 1114, and Lau- 
rentius. Abbas, 1176). I remained some little while, mus- 
ing over these casual relics of antiquity, thus left like wrecks 
upon this distant shore of time, telling no tale but that 
such beings had been and had perished; teaching no moral 
but the futility of that pride which hopes still to exact 
homage in its ashes, and to live in an inscription. A lit- 
tle longer, and even these faint records will be obliterated, 
and the monument will cease to be a memorial. Whilst I 



168 WORKS OF WASHINTTTOiq" IRVING. 

was yet looking down upon the grave-stones^ I was roused 
by tlie sound of the Abbey clock, reverberating from but- 
tress to buttress, and echoing among the cloisters. It is 
almost startling to hear this warning of departed time 
sounding among the tombs, and telling the lapse of the hour, 
which, like a billow, has rolled us onward toward the grave. 

I pursued my walk to an arched door opening to the in- 
terior of the Abbey. On entering here, the magnitude of 
the building breaks fully upon the mind, contrasted with 
the vaults of the cloisters. The eye gazes with wonder at 
clustered columns of gigantic dimensions, with arches 
springing from them to such an amazing height; and man 
wandering about their bases, shrunk into insignificance in 
comparison with his own handiwork. The spaciousness 
and gloom of this vast edifice produced a profound and 
mysterious awe. We step cautiously and softly about, as if 
fearful of disturbing the hallowed silence of the tomb; 
while every footfall whispers along the walls, and chatters 
among the sepulchers, making us more sensible of the quiet 
we have interrupted. 

It seems as if the awful nature of the place |)resses down 
upon the soul, and hushes the beholder into noiseless rever- 
ence. We feel that we are surrounded by the congregated 
bones of the great men of past times, who have filled his- 
tory v/ith their deeds, and the earth with their renown. 
lid yet it almost provokes a smile at the vanit}^ of human 
ainbition, to see how they a^re crowded together, and Jostled 
in the dust; what parsimony is observed in doling out a 
scanty nook — a gloomy corner — a little jDortion of earth, to 
those whom, when alive, kingdoms could not satisfy: and 
how many shapes, and forms, and artifices, are devised to 
catch the casual notice of the passenger, and save from f or- 
getf ulness, for a few short years, a name which once aspired 
to occupy ages of the world^s thought and admiration. 

I passed some time in Poet^s Corner, which occupies an 
end of one of the transepts or cross aisles of the Abbey. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOK, GENT. 169 

The monuments are generally simple; for the lives of litera- 
ry men afford no striking themes for a sculptor. Shake- 
speare and Addison have statues erected to their memories; 
but the greater part have busts, medallions, and sometimes 
mere inscriptions. Notwithstanding the simplicity of these 
memorials, I have always observed that the visitors to the 
Abbey remain longest about them. A kinder and fonder 
feeling takes place of that cold curiosity or vague admira- 
tion with which they gaze on the splendid monuments of 
the great and the heroic. They linger about these as 
about the tombs of friends and companions; for indeed 
there is something of com]3anionship between the author 
and the reader. Other men are known to posterity only 
through the medium of history, which is continually grow- 
ing faint and obscure; but the intercourse between the 
author and his fellow-men m ever new, active, and imme- 
diate. He has lived for them more than for himself; he 
has sacrificed surrounding enjoyments, and shut himself 
up from the delights of social life, that he might the more 
intimately commune with distant minds and distant ages. 
Well may the world cherish his renown ; for it has been 
purchased, not by deeds of violence and blood, but by the 
diligent dispensation of pleasure. Well may posterity be 
grateful to his memory; for he has left it an inheritance, 
not of empty names and sounding actions, but whole treas- 
ures of wisdom, bright gems of thought, and golden veins 
of language. 

From Poet's Corner I continued my stroll toward that 
part of the Abbey which contains the sepulchers of the 
kings. I wandered among what once were chapels, but 
which are now occupied by the tombs and monuments of 
the great. At every turn, I met with some illustrious 
name, or the cognizance of some powerful house renowned 
in history. As the eye darts into these dusky chambers of 
death, it catches glimpses of quaint effigies : some kneeling 
in niches, as if in devotion; others stretched upon the 



170 WOEKS OF AVASHIKGTOK IRVli^G. 

tombS;, witli hands piously pressed together; warriors in 
armor^ as if reposing after "battle; prelates, with crosiers 
and miters; and nobles in robes and coronets, lying as it 
were in state. In glancing over this scene, so strangely 
populous, yet where every form is so still and. silent, it 
seems almost as if we were treading a mansion of that 
fabled city, where every being had been suddenly trans- 
muted into stone. 

I paused to contemplate a tomb on which lay the effigy 
of a knight in comj)lete armor. A large buckler was on 
one arm; the hands were pressed together in supplication 
upon the breast; the face Vfas almost covered by the mo- 
rion; the legs were crossed in token of the warrior^ s having 
been engaged in the holy war. It was the tomb of a 
crusader; of one of those military enthusiasts, who so 
strangely mingled religion and romance, and whose exploits 
form the connecting link between fact and fiction — ^between 
the history and the fairy-tale. There is something extreme- 
ly picturesque in the tombs of these adventurers, decorated 
as they are with rude armorial bearings and Gothic sculpt- 
ure. They comport v/ith the antiquated chapels in which 
they are generally found; and in considering them, the im- 
pvgination is apt to kindle with the legendary associations, 
the romantic fictions, the chivalrous pomp and pageantry, 
which poetry has spread over the wars for the Sepulcher of 
Christ. They are the relics of times utterly gone by; of 
beings passed from recollection; of customs and manners 
v/ith which ours have no affinity. They are like objects 
from some strange and distant land of which we have no 
certain knowledge, and about which all our conceptions are 
vague and. visionary. There is something extremely solemn 
and awful in those effigies on Gothic tombs, extended as if 
in the sleep of death, or in the supplication of the dying 
hour. They have an effect infinitely more impressive on 
my feelings than the fanciful attitudes, the overwrought 
conceits, and allegorical groujDS, which abound on modern 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON', GENT. 171 

monuments. I have been struck, also, with the superiority 
of many of the old. sepulchral inscriptions. There was a 
noble way, in former times, of saying things simply, and 
yet saying them proudly: and I do not know an epitaph 
that breathes a loftier consciousness of family worth and 
honorable lineage, than one which affirms, of a noble 
house, that " all the brothers were brave, and all the sis- 
ters virtuous. '' 

In the opposite transept to Poet^s Corner, stands a monu- 
ment which ns among the most renowned achievements of 
modern art; but which, to me, appears horrible rather 
than sublime. It is the tomb of Mrs. Nightingale, by 
Roubillac. The bottom of the monument is represented 
as throwing open its marble doors, and a sheeted skeleton 
is starting forth. The shroud is falling from his fleshless 
frame as he launches his dart at his victim. She is sinking 
into her affrighted husband's arms, who strives, with vain 
and frantic effort, to avert the blow. The whole is execut- 
ed with terrible truth and spirit; we almost fancy we hear 
the gibbering yell of triumph, bursting from the distended 
jaws of the specter. But why should we thus seek to clothe 
death with unnecessary terrors, and to spread horrors round 
the tomb of those we love? The grave should be surround- 
ed by everything that might inspire tenderness and venera- 
tion for the dead; or that might win the, living to virtue. 
It is the place, not of disgust and dismay, but of sorrow 
and meditation. 

While wandering about these gloomy vaults and silent 
aisles, studying the records of the dead, the sound of busy 
existence from without occasionally reaches the ear — the 
rumbling of the passing equipage; the murmur of the mul- 
titude; or perhaps the light laugh of pleasure. The con- 
trast is striking with the death-like repose around ; and it 
has a strange effect upon the feelings, thus to hear the 
surges of active life hurrying along and beating against the 
very walls of the sepulcher. 



172 WORKS OF WASHIN-GTOK IRVING. 

I continued in this way to move from tomb to tomb^ and 
from chapel to chapel. The day was gradually wearing 
aAvay; the distant tread of loiterers about the Abbey grew 
less and less frequent; the sweet-tongued bell was summon- 
ing to evening prayers; and I saw at a distance the choris- 
ters^ in their white surplices^ crossing the aisle and enter- 
ing the choir. I stood before the entrance to Henry the 
Seventh^ s chapel. A flight of steps leads up to it^ through 
a deep and gloomy^ but magnificent arch. Great gates of 
brass^ richly and delicately wrought^ turn iieavily upon 
their hinges^, as if j)roudly reluctant to admit the feet of 
common mortals into this most gorgeous of sepulchers. 

On entering, the eye is astonished by the pomp of archi- 
tecture, and the elaborate beauty of sculj)tured detail. The 
very walls are wrought into universal ornament, incrusted 
with tracery, and scoojDcd into niches, crowded with the 
statues of saints and martyrs. Stone seems, by the cun- 
ning labor of the chisel, to have been robbed of its weight 
and density, susj)ended aloft, as if by magic, and the 
fretted roof achieved with the wonderful minuteness and 
airy security of a cobweb. 

Along the sides of the chaiDcl are the lofty stalls of the 
Knights of the Bath, richly carved of oak, though with the 
grotesque decorations of Gothic architecture. On the -phi- 
nacles of the stalls are affixed the helmets and crests of the 
knights, with their scarfs and swords; and above them are 
suspended their banners, emblazoned with armorial bear- 
ings, and contrasting the splendor of gold and |3nrple and 
crimson with the cold gray fretwork of the roof. In the 
midst of this grand mausoleum stands the sepulcher of its 
founder — his effigy, with that of his queen, extended on a 
sumjDtuous tomb, and the whole surrounded by a superbly 
wrought brazen railing. 

There is a sad dreariness in this magnificence; this 
strange mixture of tombs and trophies; these emblems of 
living and asj)iring ambition, close beside mementos which 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 1T3 

sliow the dust and oblivion in wliicli all must sooner or later 
terminate. Nothing impresses the mind with a deej^er feel- 
ing of loneliness, than to tread the silent and deserted scene 
of former throng and pageant. On looking round on the 
Tacant stalls of the knights and their esquires, and on the 
TOWS of dusty but gorgeous banners that were once borne 
before them, my imagination conjured up the scene when 
this hall was bright with the valor and beauty of the land ; 
glittering with the splendor of jeweled rank and military 
array; alive with the tread of many feet^ and the hum of an 
admiring multitude. All had j^assed away; the silence of 
death had settled again upon the place; interrupted only 
hy the casual chirping of birds, which had found their way 
into the chapel, and built their nests among its friezes and 
pendants — sure signs of solitariness and desertion. When 
I read the names inscribed on the banners, they were those 
of men scattered far and wide about the world ; some toss- 
ing upon distant seas; some under arms in distant lands; 
^ome mingling in the busy intrigues of courts and cabinets; 
all seeking to deserve one more distinction in this mansion 
of shadowy honors — the melancholy reward of a monu- 
ment. 

Two small aisles on each side of this chapel present a 
touching instance of the equahty of the grave, which brings 
down the oppressor to a level with the oppressed, and min- 
gles the dust of the bitterest enemies together. In one is the 
sepulcher of the haughty Ehzabeth; in the other is that of 
her victim, the lovely and unfortunate Mary. Xot an horn- 
in the day but some ejaculation of pity is uttered over the 
fate of the latter, mingled with indignation at her op- 
jDressor. The walls of Elizabeth^ s sepulcher continually 
echo with the sighs of sympathy heaved at the grave of her 
rival. 

A peculiar melancholy reigns over the aisle where Mary 
lies buried. The light struggles dimly through windows 
•darkened by dust. The iTcater j)art of the j^lace is in deep 



174 WORKS OF WASHI2s^GT0K IRVIIsTG. 

shadow^ and the walls are stained and tinted by time and 
weather. A marble figure of Mary is stretched upon the 
tomb^ round which is an iron railing, much corroded^, bear- 
ing her national emblem — the thistle. I was weary with 
wandering, and sat down to rest myself by the monument, 
revolving in my mind the checkered and disastrous story of 
poor Mary. 

The sound of casual footsteps had ceased from the 
Abbey. I could only hear, now and then, the distant voice 
of the priest repeating the evening service, and the faint 
responses of the choir; these paused for a time, and all was 
hushed. The stillness, the desertion and obscurity that 
were gradually prevailing around, gave a deeper and more 
solemn interest to the place : 

" For in the silent grave no conversation, 
No joyful tread of friends, no voice of lovers, 
No careful father's counsel— nothing's heard, 
For nothing is, but all oblivion, 
Dust, and an endless darkness." 

Suddenly the notes of the deep-laboring organ burst upon 
the ear, falling with doubled and redoubled intensity, and 
rolling, as it were, huge billows of sound. How well da 
their volume and grandeur accord with this mighty build- 
ing! With what pomj) do they swell through its vast 
vaults, and breathe their awful harmony through these 
caves of death, and make the silent sepulcher vocal! And 
now they rise in triumphant acclamation, heaving higher 
and higher their accordant notes, and piling sound on 
sound. And now they pause, and the soft voices of the 
choir break out i nto sweet gushes of melody; they soar 
aloft, and warble along the roof, and seem to play about 
these lofty vaults like the pure airs of heaven. Again the 
pealing organ heaves its thrilling thimders, com|)ressing 
air into music, and rolling it forth upon the soul. What 
long-drawn cadences! What solemxU sweeping concords!. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOIf, GENT. 175 

It grows more and more dense and powerful — it fills the 
vast pile, and seems to jar the very walls-^the ear is stunned 
— the senses are overwhelmed. And now it is winding up 
in full jubilee — it is rising from the earth to heaven — the 
very soul seems wrapt away, and floated upward on this 
swelling tide of harmony! 

I sat for some time lost in that kind of reverie which a 
strain of music is apt sometimes to inspire; the shadows of 
evening were gradually thickening around me; the monu- 
ments began to cast deeper and deeper gloom; and the dis- 
tant clock gave token of the slowly waning day. 

I arose, and prej^ared to leave the Abbey. As I descend- 
ed the flight of ste23S which lead into the body of the build- 
ing, my eye was caught by the shrine of Edward the Con- 
fessor, and I ascended the small staircase that conducts to 
it, to take from thence a general survey of this wilderness 
of tombs. The shrine is elevated upon a kind of j^latform, 
and close around it are the sepulchers of various kings and 
queens. From this eminence the eye looks down between 
l^illars and funeral trophies to the chapels and chambers 
below, crowded with tombs; where warriors, prelates, court- 
iers, and statesmen, lie moldering in *^ their beds of dark- 
ness. ^^ Close by me stood the great chair of coronation, 
rudely carved of oak, in the barbarous taste of a remote 
and Gothic age. The scene seemed almost as if contrived, 
with theatrical artifice, to produce an effect upon the be- 
holder. Here was a type of the beginning and the end of 
human pomp and power; here it was literally but a step 
from the throne to the sepulcher. Would not one think 
that these incongruous mementos had been gather3d to- 
gether as a lesson to living greatness? — to show it, even in 
the moment of its proudest exaltation, the neglect and dis- 
honor to which it must soon arrive; how soon that crown 
which encircles its brow must pass away; and it must lie 
down in the dust and disgraces of the tomb, and be tram" 
2)led upon by the feet of the meanest of the multitude? 



176 WORKS OF WASHINGTOIT IRVIKG. 

For, strange to tell, even the grave is here no longer a 
sanctuary. There is a shocking levity in some natures, 
which leads them to sport with awful and hallowed things; 
and there are base minds, which delight to revenge on the 
illustrious dead the abject homage and groveling servility 
which they pay to the living. The coffin of Edward the 
Confessor has been broken open, and his remains despoiled 
of their funeral ornaments; the scepter has been stolen 
from the hand of the imperious Elizabeth, and the effigy 
of Henry the Fifth lies headless, l^ot a royal monument, 
but bears some proof how false and fugitive is the homage 
of mankind. Some are plundered; some mutilated; some 
covered with ribaldry and insult — all more or less outraged 
and dishonored ! 

The last beams of- day were now faintly streaming- 
through the painted windows in the high vaults above me; 
the lower parts of the Abbey were already wrapped in the 
obscurity of twilight. The chapels and aisles grew darker 
and darker. The effigies of the kings faded .into shadows; 
the marble figures of the monuments assumed strange 
shapes in the uncertain light; the evening breeze crept 
through the aisles like the cold breath of the grave; and 
even the distant footfall of a verger, traversing the Poet^s 
Corner, had something strange and dreary in its sound. I 
slowly retraced my morning^ s walk, and as I passed out at. 
the portal of the cloisters, the door, closing with a jarring 
noise behind me, filled the whole building with echoes. 

I endeavored to form some arrangement in my mind of 
the objects I had been contemplating, but found they were 
already falling into indistinctness and confusion. Names, 
inscriptions, trophies, had all become confounded in my 
recollection, though I had scarcely taken my foot from oif 
the threshold. What, thought I, is this vast assemblage 
of sepulchers but a treasury of humiliation; a huge pile of 
reiterated homilies on the emptiness of renown, and the cer- 
tainty of oblivion? It is, indeed, the empire of Death; his 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 177 

great shadowy palace; where he sits in state, mocking at 
the rehcs of humau glory, and spreading dust and forget- 
fuluess on the monuments of princes. How idle a boast, 
after all, is the immortality of a name ! Time is ever silent- 
ly turning over his pages; we are too much engrossed by 
the story of the present, to think of the characters and an- 
ecdotes that give interest to the past; and each age is a 
volume thrown aside to be speedily forgotten. The idol of 
to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection; 
and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of to-mor- 
row. '* Our fathers," says Sir Thomas Browne, '' find their 
graves in our short memories, and sadly tell us how we may 
be buried in pur survivors.^' History fades into fable; fact 
becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscrip- 
tion molders from the tablet; the statue falls from the 
pedestal. Columns, arches, j)yramids, what are they but 
heaps of sand — and their epitaphs but characters written 
in the dust? What is the security of a tomb, or the per- 
petuity of an embalmment? The remains of Alexander 
the Great have been scattered to the wind, and his empty 
sarcophagus is now the mere curiosity of a museum. '•' The 
Egyptian mummies, which Oambyses or time hath spared, 
avarice now consumeth; Mizraim cures wounds, and 
Pharaoh is sold for balsams. ^^* 

What then is to insure this jDile, which now towers above 
me, from sharing the fate of mightier mausoleums? The 
time must come when its gilded vaults which now spring- 
so loftily, shall lie in rubbish beneath the feet; when, iii- 
stead of the sound of melody and praise, the winds shall 
whistle through the broken arches, and the owl hoot from 
the shattered tower — when the garish sunbeam shall l^reak 
into these gloomy mansions of death, and the ivy twine 
round the fallen column; and the fox-glove hand its blos- 
soms about the nameless urn, as if in mockery of the dead* 

* Sir Thomas Browne, 



178 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

Thus man passes away; his name passes from recollection; 
Ms history is a tale that is told^ and his veiy monument 
becomes a ruin. 



CHRI8TMA8. 

Bulls old, old, good old Christmas gone? Nothing but the hair 
of his good, gray, old head and beard left? Well, I will have that, 
seeing I can not have more of him. 

Rue and Cry after Christmas. 

A man might then behold 

At Christmas in each hall, 
Oood fires to curb the cold, ^ 

And meat for great and small. 
The neighbors were friendly bidden, 

And all had welcome true. 
The poor from the gates were not chidden, 

AVhen this old cap was new. 

Old Song. 

There is nothing in England that exercises a more de- 
lightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings of 
the holiday customs and rural games of former times. 
They recall the j)ictures my fancy used to draw in the May 
morning of lif e^ when as yet I only knew the world through 
hooks,, and believed it to be all that poets had painted it; 
and they bring with them the flavor of those honest days of 
yore, in which, perhaps with equal fallacy, I am apt to think 
the world was more homebred, social, and joyous than at 
present. I regret to say that they are daily growing more 
and more faint, being gradually worn away by time, but 
still more obliterated by modern fashion. They resemble 
those picturesque morsels of Gothic architecture, which we 
see crumbling in various parts of the country, partly dilapi- 
dated by the waste of ages, and partly lost in the additions 
and alterations of later days. Poetry, however, clings 
with cherishing fondness about the rural game and holiday 
revel, from which it has derived so many of its themes-— as 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 179 

tlie ivy winds its rich foliage about the Gothic arch and 
moldering tower, gratefully repaying their support, by 
clasping together their tottering remains, and, as it were, 
embalming them in verdure. 

:- Of all the old festivals, however, that of Christmas 
awakens the strongest and most heartfelt associations. 
There is a tone of solemn and sacred feeling that blends 
with our conviviality, and lifts the spirit to a state of hal- 
lowed and elevated enjoyment. The services of the church 
about this season are extremely tender and inspiring : they 
dwell on the beautiful story of the origin of our faith, and 
the pastoral scenes that accompanied its announcement; 
they gradually increase in fervor and pathos during the sea- 
son of Advent, until they break forth in full jubilee on the 
morning that brought peace and good-will to men. I do 
not know a grander effect of music on the moral feelings 
than to hear the full choir and the pealing organ perform 
a Christmas anthem in a cathedral, and filling every part 
of the vast pile with triumjDhant harmony. . 

It is a beautiful arrangement, also, derived from days of 
yore, that this festival, which commemorates the announce- 
ment of the religion of peace and love, has been made the 
season for gathering together of family connections, and 
drawing closer again those bands of kindred hearts, which 
the cares and j)leasures and sorrows of the world are con- 
tinually operatiiig to cast loose; of calling back the children 
of a family, who have launched forth in life, and wandered 
widely asunder, once more to assemble about the paternal 
hearth, that rallying-place of the affections, there to grow 
young and loving again among the endearing mementos 
of childhood. 

There is something in the very season of the year that 
gives a charm to the festivity of Christmas. At other 
times, we derive a great portion of our pleasures from the 
mere beauties of Nature. Our feelings sally forth and dis- 
sipate themselves over the sun.ny landscape, and we ^^ live 



180 WORKS OP WASHIKGTO]^" IRVING. 

abroad and everjn^^here/^ The song of the bird^ the mur- 
mur of the stream^ the breathing fragrance of sj^ring, the 
soft vohiptuousness of summer^ the golden pomp of autumn 
earth with its mantle of refreshing green^ and heaven with 
its deep^ delicious blue and its cloudy magnificence — all fill 
us with mute but exquisite delight^ and we revel in the 
luxury of mere sensation. But in the depth of winter^ 
when Nature lies desjDoiled of every charm ;, and wrapped 
in her shroud of sheeted snow,, v/e turn for our gratifica- 
tions to moral sources. The dreariness and desolation of 
the landscape^ the short gloomy days and darksome nights, 
while they circumscribe our wanderings, shut in our feel- 
ings also from rambling abroad, and make us more keenly 
disposed for the pleasures of the social circle. Our thoughts 
are more concentrated; our friendly sympathies more 
aroused. We feel more sensibly the charm of each other^s 
society, and are brought more closety together by depend- 
ence on each other for enjoyment. Heart calleth unto 
heart, and we draw our pleasures from the deej) wells of 
living kindness which lie in the quiet recesses of our bosoms; 
and which, when resorted to, furnish forth the pure ele- 
ment of domestic felicity. 

The i^itchy gloom without makes the heart dilate on en- 
tering the room filled with the glow and warmth of the 
evening fire. The ruddy blaze diffuses an artificial sum- 
mer and sunshine through the room, and lights up each 
countenance into a kindlier welcome. Where does the 
honest face of hospitality expand into a broader and more 
cordial smile — ^where is the shy glance of love more sweetly 
eloquent — than by the winter fireside? and as the hollow 
blast of wintery wind rushes through the hall, claps the dis- 
tant door, whistles about the casement, and rumbles dovai 
the chimney, what can be more grateful than that feeling 
of sober and sheltered security, with which we look round 
■upon the comfortable chamber, and the scene of domestic 
hilaritv? 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 181 

The English, from the great prevalence of rural hahits 
thronghout every class of society, have always been fond 
-of those festivals and holidays Avhich agreeably interru2)t 
the stillness of country life; and they were in foiTner days 
particularly observant of the religious and social rights of 
Christmas. It is inspiring to read even the dry details 
Avhich some antiquaries have given of the quaint humors, 
the burlesque pageants, the complete abandonment to 
mirth and good fellowship, with which this festival was 
•celebrated. It seemed to throw open every door, and un- 
lock every heart. It brought the peasant and the peer 
together, and blended all ranks in one warm generous flow 
of joy and kindness. The old halls of castles and manor- 
houses resounded with the harj) and the Christmas carol, 
and their ample boards groaned under the weight of hos- 
pitality. Even the poorest cottage welcomed the festive 
season with green decorations of bay and holly — the cheer- 
ful fire glanced its rays through the lattice, inviting the 
passenger to raise the latch, and join the gossijD knot 
huddled round the hearth beguiling the long evening with 
legendary jokes, and oft-told Christmas tales. 

One of the least j^leasing effects of modern refinement 
is the havoc it has made among the hearty old holiday cus- 
toms. It has completely taken off the sharp touchings and 
spirited reliefs of these embellishments of life, and has 
worn down society into a more smooth and polished, but 
certainly a less characteristic, surface. Many of the games 
and ceremonials of Christmas have entirely disappeared, 
and, like the sherris sack of old Falstatf, are become mat- 
ters of speculation and dispute among commentators. They 
flourished in times full of spirit and lustihood, when men 
enjoyed life roughly, but heartily and vigorously: times 
wild and picturesque, which have furnished poetry Avith its 
richest materials, and the drama with its most attractive 
variety of characters and manners. The world has become 
more worldly. There is more of dissipation and less of 



182 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

enjoyment. Pleasure lias expanded into a broader, but a 
shallower stream^ and has forsaken many of those deep 
and quiet channels, where it flowed sweetly through the 
calm bosom of domestic life. Society has acquired a more 
enlightened and elegant tone; but it has lost many of its 
strong local peculiarities, its homebred feelings, its honest 
fireside delights. The traditionary customs of golden- 
hearted antiquity, its feudal hospitalities, and lordly was- 
sailings, have passed away with the baronial castles and 
st:itely manor-houses in which they were celebrated. They 
comported with the shadowy hall, the great oaken gallery, 
and the tapestried parlor, but are unfitted for the light 
showy saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the modern villa. 
Shorn, however, as it is, of its ancient and festive honors,. 
Christmas is still a period of delightful excitement in Eng- 
land. It is gratifying to see that home feeling comj^letely 
aroused which holds so powerful a place in every English 
bosom. The preparations making on every side for the 
social board that is again to unite friends and kindred — - 
the presents of good cheer passing and repassing, those 
tokens of regard and quickeners of kind feelings — the 
evergreens distributed about houses and churches, emblems 
of peace and gladness — all these have the most pleasing 
effect in producing fond associations, and kindling benev- 
olent symj)atliies. Even the sound of the waits, rude as 
may be their minstrelsy, breaks upon the midwatches of a 
winter night with the effect of perfect harmony. As I have 
been awakened by them in that still and solemn hour 
" when deep sleep falleth upon man,^"* I have listened 
with a hushed delight, and connecting them with the sacred 
and joyous occasion, have almost fancied them into an- 
other celestial choir announcing peace and good-will to 
mankind. How delightfully the imagination, when wrought 
upon by these moral influences, turns everything to melody 
and beauty! The very crowing of the cock, heard some- 
times in the profound repose of the country, '^ telling the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOiJbltiiY CRAYON, GE2S^T. 183 

nightwatclies to his feathery dames/ ^ "vvas thought by the 
common people to amiounce the u^jyrosich of the sacred 
festival : 

" Some say that ever '"-aiust that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's birlh was celebrated, 
This bird of dawning singeth all night long: 
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad; 
The nights are wholesome— then no planets strike, 
No fair}' takes, no witch hath power to charm, 
So hallowed and so gracious is the time." 

Amidst the general call to happiness, the bustle of the 
sjDirits, and stir of the affections, which prevail at thi^ 
jjeriod, what bosom can remain insensible? It is, indeed, 
the season of regenerated feeling — the season for kindling 
not merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial 
flame of charity in the heart. The scene of early love 
again rises green to memory beyond the sterile w^aste of 
years, and the idea of home, fraught v\^ith the fragrance of 
home-dwelling joys, reanimates the drooping spirit — as the 
Arabian breeze will sometimes waft the freshness of the 
distant fields to the weary 2:)ilgrim of tlie desert. 

Stranger and sojourner as I am in the land — though for 
me no social hearth may blaze, no hospitable roof throw 
open its doors, nor the w^arm grasj) of friendship) welcome 
me at the threshold — yet I feel the influence of the season 
beaming into my soul from the happy looks of those around 
me. Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven ; 
and every countenance bright with smiles, and glowing 
with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others 
the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence. He 
who can turn churhshly away from contemplating the 
felicity of his fellow-beings, and can sit down darkling and 
repining in his loneliness when all around is jo}dful, may 
have his moments of strong excitement and selfish gratifi- 
cation, but he wants the genial and social symj)athies which 
constitute the charm of a merry Christmas. 



184: WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING-. 



I HE ST A GE- CO A CH. 

Omne bene 

Sine poena; 
Tempus estludendi; 

Venit hora 

Absque mora; 
Libros depouendi. 

Old Holiday School Song, ' 

In tlie iDreceding paper^ I haye made some general ob- 
servations on the Christmas festivities of England^ and am 
tempted to illustrate them by some anecdotes of a Christ- 
mas passed in the comitry; in perusing which, I would 
most courteously invite my reader to lay aside the austerity 
of wisdom, and to put on that genuine holiday spirit, whicli 
is tolerant of folly and anxious only for amusement. 

In the course of a December tour in Yorkshire, I rode 
for a long distance m one of the public coaches, on the day 
preceding Christmas. The coach was crowded, both inside 
and out, with passengers, who, by their talk, seemed prin- 
cipally bound to the mansions of relations or friends, to 
eat the Christmas dinner. It was loaded also with hampers 
of game, and baskets and boxes of delicacies; and hares 
hung dangling their long ears about the coachman^ s box, 
jDresents from distant friends for the imjDending feast. I 
had three fine rosy-cheeked school-boys for my fellow- 
passengers inside, full of the buxom health and manly 
spirit which I have observed in the children of his country. 
They were returning home for the holidays, in high glee, 
and promising themselves a world of enjoyment. It was 
delightful to hear the gigantic plans of pleasure of the 
little rogues, and the impracticable feats they were to per- 
form during their six weeks' emancipation from the ab- 
horred thraldom of book, birch, and pedagogue. They 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CllAYOX, GENT. 185 

^ere full of the anticipations of the meeting with the family 
and household, do"vvn to the very cat and dog ; and of the 
joy they were to give their sisters, by the presents with 
which their j^ockets were crammed; but the meeting to 
which they seemed to look forward with the greatest im- 
patience was with Bantam, which I found to be a pony, 
imd according to their talk, possessed of more virtues than 
am^ steed since the days of Bucej^halus. How he could 
trot! how he could run! and then such leaps as he would 
take — there was not a hedge in the whole country that he 
could not clear. 

They were under the 2:)articular guardianshij) of the 
coachman, to whom, whenever an oi^portunit}^ presented, 
they addressed a host of questions, and pronoimced him 
one of the best fellows in the whole world. Indeed, I could 
not but notice the more than ordinary air of bustle and im- 
j)ortance of the coachman, who wore his hat a little on one 
side, and had a large bunch of Christmas greens stuck in 
the button-hole of his coat. He is always a personage full 
of mighty care and business; but he is particularly so dur- 
ing this season, having so many commissions to execute in 
consequence of the great interchange of presents. And 
here, jDerhaps, it may not be unacceptable to my un traveled 
readers, to have a sketch that may serve as a general repre- 
sentation of this very numerous and important class of 
functionaries, who have a dress, a manner, a language, an 
air, peculiar to themselves, and prevalent throughout the 
fraternity; so that, wherever an English stage-coachman 
may be seen, he can not be mistaken for one of any other 
craft or mystery. 

He has commonly a broad full face, curiously mottled 
with red, as if the blood had been forced by hard feeding 
into every vessel of the skin; he is swelled into jolly dimen- 
sions by frequent potations of malt liquors, and his bulk is 
still further increased by a multiplicity of coats, in which 
he is buried like a cauliflower, the upper one reaching to his 



186 WORKS OF WASHlNGTOiT IRVIKG. 

lieels. He wears a broad-brimmed low-crowned hat^ a 
huge roll of colored handkerchief about his neck^ knowingly 
knotted and tucked in at the bosom; and has in summer- 
time a large bouquet of flov/ers in his button-hole, the pres- 
ent, most probably, of some enamored country lass. His 
waistcoat is commonly of some bright color, striped, and 
his small-clothes extend far below the knees, to meet a j)air 
of jockey boots which reach about half-way up his legs. 

All this costume is maintained with much precision; he^ 
has a pride in having his clothes of excellent materials, and 
notwithstanding the seeming grossness of his appearance, 
there is still discernible that neatness and propriety of per- 
son, which is almost inherent in an Englishman. He en- 
joys great consequence and consideration along the road; 
has frequent conferences with the Tillage housewives, who 
look upon him as a man of great trust and dejjendence; 
and he seems to have a good understanding with every 
bright-eyed country lass. The moment he arrives where 
the horses are to be changed, he throws down the reins 
with something of an air, and abandons the cattle to the 
care of the hostler; his duty being merely to drive them 
from one stage to another. When off the box, his hands 
are . thrust in the pockets of his great-coat, and he rolls 
about the inn-yard v/ith an air of the most absolute lordli- 
ness. Here he is generally surrounded by an admiring 
throng of hostlers, stable-boys, shoeblacks, and those name- 
less hangers-on, that infest inns and taverns, and run 
errands, and do all kind of odd jobs, for the j^rivileges of 
battening on tne drippings of the kitchen and the leakage 
of the tap-room. These all look up to him as to an oracle; 
treasure up his cant phrases; echo his opinions about horses 
and other topics of jockey lore; and, above all, endeavor to 
imitate his air and carriage. Every ragamuffin that has a 
coat to his back, thrusts his hands in the pockets, rolls in 
his gait, talks slang, and is an embryo Coachey. 

Perhaps it might be owing to the pleasing serenity that 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 187 

reignecl in my own mind, that I fancied I saw cheerfulness 
in every countenance throughout the journey. A Stage- 
Coach, however, carries animation always with it, and puts 
the world in motion as it whirls along. The horn, sounded 
at the entrance of a village, produces a general bustle. 
Some hasten forth to meet friends; some with bundles and 
bandboxes to secure j^laces, and in the hurry of the mo- 
ment can hardly take leave of the grou^) that accompanies 
them. In the meantime, the coachman has a world of 
small commissions to execute; sometimes he delivers a hare 
or pheasant; sometimes jerks a small parcel or newspaper 
to the door of a j^ublic house; and sometimes with knowing 
leer and words of sly import, hands to some half -blush- 
ing, half -laughing house-maid, an odd-shaped billet doux 
from some rustic admirer. As the coach rattles through 
the village, every one runs to the window, and you have 
glances on every side of fresh country faces, and bloom- 
ing giggling girls. At the corners are assembled juntos of 
village idlers and wise men, who take their stations there 
for the important purpose of seeing company pass: but the 
sagest knot is generally at the blacksmith^s, to whom the 
passing of the coach is an event fruitful of much sj)ecula- 
tion. The smith, with the horse's heel in his lap, pauses 
as the vehicle whirls by; the cyclo^DS round the anvil sus- 
pend their ringing hammers, and suffer the iron to grow 
cool; and the sooty specter in brown paper cap, laboring 
at the bellows, leans on the handle for a moment, and 
permits the asthmatic engine to heave a long-drawn sigh, 
while he glares through the murky smoke and sulphureous 
gleams of the smithy. 

Perhaps the impending holiday might have given a more 
than usual animation to the country, for it seemed to me 
as if everybody was in good looks and good spirits. Game, 
poultry, and other luxuries of the table, were in brisk cir- 
culation in the villages; the grocers, butchers, and 
fruiterers' shops were thronged with customers. The 



188 WORKS OF AVASHI^GTOK IRVIKa. . 

housewives were stirring briskly about^ putting their dwell- 
ings in order; and the glossy branches of holly, with their 
bright red berries, began to appear at the windows. The 
scene brought to mind an old writer" s account of Christ- 
mas preparations. " Now capons and hens, besides 
turkeys, geese, and ducks, with beef and mutton — must all 
die — ^for in twelve days a multitude of people will not be 
fed with a little. Now plums and spice, sugar and honey,, 
square it among pies and broth. Now or never must music 
be in tune, for the youth must dance and sing to get them 
a heat, while the aged sit by the fire. The country maid 
leaves half her market, and must be sent again, if she for- 
gets a pair of cards on Christmas eve. Great is the conten- 
tion of Holly and Ivy, whether master or dame wears the 
breeches. Dice and cards benefit the butler; and if the 
cook do not lack wit, he will sweetly lick his fingers."' 

I was roused from this fit of luxurious meditation by a. 
shout from my little traveling companions. They had 
been looking out of the coach-windows for the last few 
miles, recognizing every tree and cottage as they ap- 
proached home, and now there was a- general burst of joy 
— ^'There's John! and there's old Carlo! and there's 
Bantam!" cried the happy little rogues, clapping their 
hands. 

At the end of a lane, there was an old sober-looking 
servant in livery, waiting for them; he was accompanied by 
a superannuated pointer, and by the redoubtable Bantam, 
a little old rat of a pony, with a shaggy mane and long 
rusty tail, who stood dozing quietly by the road-side, little 
dreaming of the bustling times that awaited him. 

I was |)leased to see the fondness with which the little 
fellows leaped about the steady old footman, and hugged 
the pointer, who wriggled his body for joy. But Bantam 
was the great object of interest; all wanted to mount at 
once, and it was with some difiiculty that John arranged 
' that they should ride by turns, and the eldest should ride first. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 189 

Off they set at last; one on the pony, with the dog bound- 
ing and barking before him, and the others holding John's 
hands; both talking at once and overpowering him with 
questions about home, and with school anecdotes. I 
looked after them with a feeling in which I do not know 
whether pleasure or melancholy predominated ; for I was 
reminded of those days when, like them, I had neither 
known care nor sorrow, and a holiday was the summit of 
earthly felicity. We stGj)ped a few moments afterward, 
to water the horses; and on resuming our route, a turn of 
the road brought us in sight of a neat country-seat. I 
could just distinguish the forms of a lady and two young 
girls in the portico, and I saw my little comrades, with 
Bantam, "Carlo, and old John, trooping along the carriage 
road. I leaned out of the coach-window, in hojDCS of wit- 
nessing the happy meeting, but a grove of trees shut it 
from my sight. 

In the evening we reached a village where I had deter- 
mined to pass the night. As we drove into the great gate- 
way of the inn, I saw, on one side, the light of a rousing- 
kitchen fire beaming through a window. I entered, and 
admired for the hundredth time that picture of conven- 
ience, neatness, and broad honest enjoyment, the picture of 
an. English inn. It was of spacious dimensions, hung 
round with copper and tin vessels highly polished, and 
decorated here and there with a Christmas green. Hams, 
tongues, and flitches of bacon were suspended from the 
ceiling; a smoke-jack made its ceaseless clanking beside 
the fire-place, and a clock ticked in one corner. A well- 
scoured deal table extended along one side of the kitchen, 
with a cold round of beef, and other hearty viands, ii-pon 
it, over which two foaming tankards of ale seemed mount- 
ing guard. Travelers of inferior order were preparing ta 
attack this stoufc repast, whilst others sat smoking and 
gossiphig over their ale on two high-backed oaken settles 
beside the fire. Trim house-maids were hurrying backward 



190 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

and forward^ under the directions of a bustling landlady; 
but still seizing an occasional moment to exchange a flip- 
pant word^ and have a rallying laugh, with the group 
round the fire. The scene completely realized Poor Eobin^s 
humble idea of the comforts of midwinter: 

" Now trees tlieir leafy hats do bare 
To reverence Winter's silver liair; 
A handsome hostess, merry host, 
A pot of ale and now a toast. 
Tobacco and a good coal fire, 
Are things this season doth require,"* 

I had not been long at the inn^ when a post-chaise drove 
up to the door. A young gentleman stepped out, and by 
the light of the lam]3s I caught a glimpse of a countenance 
which I thought I knev/. I moved forward to get a nearer 
view, when his eje caught mine. I v/as not mistaken; it 
was Prank Bracebridge, a sprightly good-humored young 
fellow, with whom I had once traveled on the Continent. 
Our meeting was extremely cordial, for the countenance of 
an old fellow-traveler always brings up the recollection of 
a thousand pleasant scenes, odd adventures, and excellent 
jokes. To discuss all these in a transient interview at an 
inn, was impossible; and finding that I was not pressed for 
time and was merely making a tour of observation, he in- 
sisted that I should give him a day or two at his father's 
country-seat, to which he was going to pass the holidays, 
and which lay at a few miles' distance. " It is better than 
eating a solitary Christmas dinner at an inn,'" said he, 
*' and I can assure you of a hearty welcome, in something 
of the old-fashioned style." His reasoning was cogent, 
and I must confess the preparation I had seen for universal 
festivity and social enjoyment, had made me feel a little 
impatient of my loneliness. I closed, therefore, at once, 

* Poor Robi'i's Almanack, 1694. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 19t 

with his invitation; the chaise drove up to the door, and 
in a few moments I was on my Avay to the family mansion 
01 the Bracebridges. 



CHRISTMAS EVE. 

Saint Francis and Saint Benedight 
Blesse this house from wicked wight; 
From the night-mare and the goblin, 
That is hight good fellow Robin; 
Keep it from all evil spirits, 
Fairies, weazles, rats, and ferrets: 

From curfew-time 

To the next prime. 

Cartwright. 

It was a brilhant moonhght night, but extremely cold; 
our chaise whirled rapidly over the frozen ground; the 
postboy smacked his whip incessantly, and a part of the 
time his horses were on a gallop. " He knows where he is 
going, ^^ said my companion, laughing, ^' and is eager to 
arrive in time for some of the merriment and good cheer 
of the servants' hall. My father, you must know, is a 
bigoted devotee of the old school, and prides himself upon 
keeping up something of old English hospitality. He is a 
tolerable specimen of what you will rarely meet with now- 
adays in its purity — the old English country gentleman : 
for our men of fortune spend so much of their time in 
town, and fashion is carried so much into the country, that 
the strong rich peculiarities of ancient rural life are almost 
polished away. My father, however, from early years, took 
honest Peacham* for his text-book, instead of Chesterfield ; 
he determined in his own mind that there v>^as no con- 
dition more truly honorable and enviable than that of a 
country gentleman on his paternal lands, and, therefore^.. 

* * Peacham's Complete Gontlcman, 1632. 



192 ' WOKKS OE WASHINGTON IIIYING. 

passes tire whole of Ms time on his estate. He is a strenu- 
ous advocate for the revival of the old rural games and 
holiday observances^ and is deeply read in the writers^ 
ancient and modern^ who have treated on the subject. 
Indeed;, his favorite range of reading is among the authors 
who flourished at least two centuries since; who_, he insists^ 
wrote and thought more like true Englishmen than any of 
their successors. He even regrets sometimes that he had 
not been born a few centuries earlier^ when England was 
itself^ and had its peculiar manners and customs. As he 
lives at some distance from the main road, in rather a lone- 
ly part of the country, v/ithout any rival gentry near him, 
he has that most enviable of all blessings to an English- 
man, an opportunity of indulging the bent of his ov/n 
humor without molestation. Being representative of the 
oldest family in the neighborhood, and a great part, of the 
peasantry being his tenants, he is much looked uip to, and^ 
in general, is known simply by the appellation of ' The 
Squire;^ a title which has been accorded to the head of the 
family since time immemorial. I think it best to give you 
these hints about my worthy old father, to -pvej^ene you for 
any little ecccDtricities that might otherwise appear ab- 
surd. ^^ 

. We had passed for some time along the wall of a park, 
and at length the chaise stopped at the gate. It was in a 
aeav}^ magnificent old style, of iron bars, fancifully wrought 
at top into fiom-ishes and flowers. The huge square 
columns that supported the gate were surmounted by the 
family crest. Close adjoining was the porter^s lodge, 
sheltered under dark fir-trees, and almost buried in shrub- 
bery. 

The post-boy rang a large porter's bell, which resounded 
through the still frosty air, and was answered by the dis- 
tant barking of dogs, with which the mansion-house seemed 
garrisoned. An old woman immediately appeared at the 
gate. As the moonliglit <' -11 strongly xipon her, I had a 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 193 

full view of a little j^rimitive dame, dressed very much in 
antique taste, with a neat kerchief and stomacher, and her 
silver hair peeping from under a caji of snowy Avhiteness. 
She came courtesying forth with many exj)ressions of simple 
joy at seeing her young master. Her husband, it seemed, 
was u}) at the house, keei^ing Christmas eve in the sei*v- 
ants^ hall; they could not do without him, as he was the 
best hand at a song and story in the household. 

My friend projDOsed that we should alight, and walk 
through the jDark to the Hall, which was at no great dis- 
tance, while the chaise should follow on. Our road wound 
through a noble avenue of trees, among the naked branches 
of which the moon glittered as she rolled through the deep 
Tault of a cloudless sky. The lawn beyond was sheeted 
with a slight covering of snow, which here and there 
sparkled as the moonbeams caught a frosty crystal; and at 
a distance might be seen a thin transparent vapor, stealing 
up from the low grounds, and threatening gradually to 
shroud the landscape. 

My companion looked round him with transj^ort: — 
" How often, "^ said he, *' have I scamiDcred up this avenue, 
on returning home on school vacations! How often have I 
played under these trees when a boy ! I feel a degree of 
filial reverence for them, as we look up to those who have 
cherished us in childhood. My father was always scrupu- 
lous in exacting our holidays, and having us around him 
on family festivals. He used to direct and sujDerintend our 
games Avith the strictness that some parents do the studies 
of their children. He was very i:)articular that we should 
play the old English games according to their original 
form ; and consulted old books for precedent and authority 
for every ' merrie disport;' yet, I assure you, there never 
was pedantry so delightful. It was the policy of the good 
old gentleman to make his children feel that home was the 
happiest place in the world, and I value this delicious home- 
feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent could bestow/' 

" ' 7 



194 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOiT lilVlN'G. 

I We were interrupted by the clamor of a troop of dogs of 
all sorts and sizes^ " mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound^ 
and curs of low degree/^ that, disturbed by the ringing of 
the porter^ s bell and the rattling of the chaise, came bound- 
ing open-mouthed across the lawn. 

" The little dogs and all, 

Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me!" 

cried Bracebridge, laughing. At the sound of his voice, 
the bark was changed into a yelp of delight, and in a mo- 
ment he was surrounded and almost overpowered by the 
caresses of the faithful animals. 

We had now come in full view of the old family man- 
sion, partly thrown in deep shadow, and partly lit up by^ 
the cold moonshine. It was an irregular building of some 
magnitude, and seemed to be of the architecture of differ- 
ent periods. One wing was evidently very ancient, with 
heavy stone-shafted bow windows jutting out and overrun 
with ivy, from among the foliage of which the small dia- 
mond-shaped panes of glass glittered with the moonbeams. 
The rest of the house was in the French taste of Charles 
the Second'' s time, having been repaired and altered, as my 
friend told me, by one of his ancestors, who returned with, 
that monarch at the Eestoration. The grounds about the 
house were laid out in the old formal manner of artificial 
flower-beds, clipped shrubberies, raised terraces, and heavy 
stone balustrades, ornamented with urns, a leaden statue or 
two, and a jet of water. The old gentleman, I was told, 
was extremely careful to preserve this obsolete finery in all 
its original state. He admired this fashion in gardening; 
it had an air of magnificence, was courtly and noble, and 
befitting good old family style. The boasted imitation of 
nature and modern gardening had sprung up with modern 
republican notions, but did not suit a monarchical govern- 
ment — it smacked of the leveling system. I could not 
help smiling at this introduction of poHtics into gardening, 
though I expressed some apprehension that I should find 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAlOl!^, GENT. 195 

the old gentleman rather intolerant in his creed. Frank 
assured me, however, that it was almost the only instance 
in which he had ever heard his father meddle with joolitics; 
and he believed he had got this notion from a member of 
Parliament, who once passed a few weeks with him. The 
squire was glad of any argument to defend his clipped yew- 
trees and formal terraces, which had been occasionally at- 
tacked by modern landscape gardeners. 

As we approached the house, we heard the soiind of 
music, and now and then a burst of laughter, from one end 
of the building. This, Bracebridge said, must i)roceed 
irom the servants' hall, where a great deal of revelry was 
permitted, and even encouraged, by the squire, through- 
out the twelve days of Christmas, provided everything was 
-done conformably to ancient usage. Here were kept up 
the old games of hoodman blind, shoe the wild mare, hot 
cockles, steal the white loaf, bob-apple, and snap-dragon; 
the Yule-clog, and Christmas candle, were regularly 
burned, anVl the mistletoe, with its white berries, hung up, 
to the imminent peril of all the pretty house-maids.* 

So intent were the servants upon their sports, that w^e 
had to ring repeatedly before we could make ourselves 
heard. On our arrival being announced, the squire came 
out to receive us, accompanied by his two other sons; one 
a young officer in the army, home on leave of absence; the 
other an Oxonian, just from the university. The squire 
was a fine heal thy -looking old gentleman, with silver, hair 
ourling lightly round an open florid countenance; in which 
a j^hysiognomist, with the advantage, like myself, of a pre- 
vious hint or two, might discover a singular mixture of 
whim and benevolence. 



* The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at 
Ohristmas; and the 3'oung men have the privilege of kissing the 
girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When 
the berries are all plucked, the privilege ceases. 



196 WORKS OF WASHINGTOl^ IRVIKG. 

The family meeting was warm and affectionate; as the 
evening was far advanced;, the squire ^ould not permit ns 
to change our travehng dresses^, but ushered us at once to 
the company ;, which was assembled in a large old-fashioned 
hall. It was composed of different branches of a numer- 
ous family connection, where there were the usual propor- 
tions of old uncles and aunts, comfortable married dames, 
su2Derannuated spinsters, blooming country cousins, half- 
fledged striplings, and bright-eyed boarding-school hoy- 
dens. They were variously occupied; some at a round 
game of cards; others conversing round the fire-place; at 
one end of the hall was a group of the young folks, some 
nearly grown up, others of a more tender and budding age, 
fully engrossed by a merry game; and a profusion of 
wooden horses, penny trumpets, and tattered dolls about 
the floor, showed traces of a troop of little fairy beings., 
who, having frolicked through a happy day, had been car- 
ried off to slumber through a peaceful night. 

Wliile the mutual greetings were going on between young- 
Bracebridge and his relatives, I had time to scan the apart- 
ment. I have called it a hall, for so it had certainly been 
in old times, and the squire had evidently endeavored to 
restore it to something of its j)rimitive state. Over the 
heavy projecting fire-place was suspended a picture of a» 
warrior in armor, standing by a white horse, and on the 
opjDOsite v/all hung a helmet, buckler, and lance. At one 
end §n enormous pair of antlers were mserted in the wall^ 
the branches serving as hooks on which to suspend hats, 
whips, and spurs; and in the corners of the apartment were 
fowling-pieces, fishing-rods, and other sporting imple- 
ments. The furniture was of the cumbrous workmanshi2> 
of former days, though some articles of modern convenience 
had been added, and the oaken floor had been carpeted; so 
that the whole presented an odd mixture of parlor and hall. 
The grate had been removed from the wide overwhelm- 
ing fire-place, to make way for a fire of wood, in the midst 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 197 

of which was an enormous log, glowing and blazing, and 
sending forth a vast volume of hghtand heat; this I under- 
stood was the yule-clog, which the squire was particular in 
having brought in and illumined on a Christmas-eve, ac- 
cording to ancient custom.* 

It was really delightful to see the old squire, seated in 
his hereditary elbow-chair, by the hospitable fireside of his 
ancestors, and looking around him like the sun of a sys- 
tem, beaming warmth and gladness to every heart. Even 
the very dog that lay stretched at his feet, as he lazily shift- 
ed his position and yawned, would look fondly up in his 
master" s face, wag his tail against the floor, and stretch 
himself again to sleep, confident of kindness and protec- 
tion. There is an emanation from the heart in genuine 
hospitality, which can not be described, but is immediately 
felt, and puts the stranger at once at his ease. I had not 

* The yule-clog is a great log of wood, sometimes the root of a 
tree, brought into the house with great ceremony on Christmas-eve, 
laid in the fire-place, and lighted with the brand of last year's clog. 
"While it lasted, there was great drinking, singing, and telling of 
tales. Sometimes it was accompanied by Christmas candles; but 
in the cottages, the only light was f'-om the ruddy blaze of the great 
wood tire. The yule clog was to burn all night: if it went out, it 
was considered a sign of ill luck. 

Herrick mentions it in one of his songs: 

" Come bring with a noise. 

My merrie, merrie boys, 
The Christmas Log to the firing; 

While my good dame she 

Bids JQ all be free, 
And drink to your hearts desiring." 

The yule-clog is still burned in many farm houses and kitchens 
in England, particularly in the north; and there are several super- 
stitions connected with it among the peasantry. If a squinting per- 
son come to the house while it is burning, or a'person barefooted, 
it is considered an ill omen. The brand remaining from the yule- 
clog is carefully put away to liglit next year's Christmas tire. 



198 WORKS OF WASHIiTGTOiq" IRVING. 

been seated many minutes by the comfortable hearth of the 
worthy old cavalier, before I found myself as much at home 
as if I had been one of the family. 

Supper was announced shortly after our arrival. It was 
served uj) in a sjoacious oaken chamber, the panels of which 
shone with wax, and around which were several family ipor- 
traits decorated with holly and ivy. Beside the accustomed 
lights, two great wax tapers, called Christmas candles, 
wreathed with greens, were placed on a highly polished 
beauf et among the family plate. The table was abundantly 
spread with substantial fare; but the squire made his sup- 
23er of frumenty, a dish made of wheat cakes boiled in milk 
with rich spices, being a standing dish in old times for 
Christmas-eve. I was hapj^y to find my old friend, minced 
pie, in the retinue of the feast; and finding him to be per- 
fectly orthodox, and that I need not be ashamed of my 
predilection, I greeted him with all the warmth wherewith 
we usually greet an old and very genteel acquaintance. 

The mirth of tne company was greatly j)romoted by the 
humors of an eccentric personage whom Mr. Bracebridge 
always addressed with the quaint appellation of Master 
Simon. He was a tight brisk little man, with the air of an 
arrant old bachelor. His nose was shaped like the bill of 
-a 23arrot; his face slightly j)itted with the small-pox, with 
a dry jDcrpetual bloom on it, like a frost-bitten leaf in 
autumn. He had an eye of great quickness and vivacity, 
with a drollery and lurking waggery of expression that was 
irresistible. He was evidently the wit of the family, deal- 
ing very much in sly jokes and innuendoes with the ladies, 
and making infinite merriment by harpings upon old 
themes; which, unfortunately, my ignorance of the family 
chronicles did not permit me to enjoy. It seemed to be his 
great delight, during supjDer, to keep a young girl next him 
in a continual agony of stifled laughter, in spite of her awe 
of the reproving looks of her mother who sat opposite. In- 
deed, he was the idol of the younger part of the company. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 199 

who laughed at* everything he said or did, and at every turn 
of his countenance. I could not wonder at it; for he must 
have been a miracle of accomplishments in their eyes. Ih 
could imitate Punch and Judy; make an old Avoman of hi.< 
hand, with the assistance of a burned cork and pocket- 
handkerchief; and cut an orange into such a ludicrous 
caricature, that the young folks were ready to die with 
laughing. 

I was let briefly into his history by Frank Bracebridge. 
He was an old bachelor, of a small independent income, 
which, by careful management, was sufficient for all his 
wants. He revolved through the family system like a 
vagrant comet in its orbit, sometimes visiting one branch, 
and sometimes another quite remote, as is often the case 
with gentlemen of extensive connections and small fortunes 
in England. He had a chirping, buoyant disposition, 
always enjo3ring the present moment; and his frequent 
change of scene and company prevented his acquiring those 
rusty, unaccommodating habits, with which old bachelors 
are so uncharitably charged. He was a complete family 
chronicle, being versed in the genealogy, history, and in- 
termarriages of the whole house of Bracebridge, which made 
him a great favorite with the old folks; he was a beau of 
all the elder ladies and superannuated spinsters, among 
whom he was habitually considered rather a young fellow, 
and he was master of the revels among the children; so 
that there was not a more j)opular being in the sphere in 
which he moved, than Mr. Simon Bracebridge. Of late 
years, he had resided almost entirely with the squire, to 
whom he had become a factotum, and whom he particularly 
delighted by jumping with his humor in respect to old 
times, and by having a scrap of an old song to suit every 
occasion. We had presently a specimen of his last-men- 
tioned talent; for no sooner was supper removed, and 
spiced wines and other beverages peculiar to tlie season in- 
troduced, than Master Simon was called on for a good old 



'300 "WORKS OF WASHINGTON lUVIXG. 

Cliristmas song. He bethought himself for a moment^ and 
then^ with a sparkle of the eye^ and a voice that was by no 
means bad^ excepting that it ran occasionally into a falsetto, 
like the notes of a s|)lit reed, he quayered forth a quaint 
old ditty: 

" Now Christmas is come, 
Let us beat up the drum, 
And call all our neighbors together; 
And when they appear, 
Let us make such a cheer, 
'• As will keep out the wind and the weather," etc. 

The supper had disposed every one to gayety, and an old 
harper was summoned from the servants^ hall, where he 
had been strumming all the evening, and to all appearance 
comforting himself with some of the squire^ s home-brewed. 
He was a kind of hanger-on, I was told, of the establish- 
ment, and though ostensibly a resident of the village, was 
oftener to be fomid in the squire^s kitchen than his own 
home; the old gentleman being fond of the sound of ^' Harp 
inhall/^ 

The dance, like most dances after su23per, was a merry 
one: some of the older folks joined in it, and -the squire 
himself figured down several couple with a partner with 
whom he affirmed he had danced at every Christmas for 
nearly half a century. Master Simon, who seemed to be a 
kind of connecting link between the old times and the new, 
and to be withal a little antiquated in the taste of his ac- 
complishments, evidently piqued himself on his dancing, 
and was endeavoring to gain credit by the heel and toe, 
rigadoon, and other graces of the ancient school : but he 
had unluckily assorted himself with a little romping girl 
from boarding-school, who, by her wild vivacit}^, kept him 
continually on the stretch, and defeated all his sober at- 
tempts at elegance :; — such are the ill-assorted matches to 
which antique gentlemen are unfortunately prone! 

The young Oxonian, on the contrary, had led out one of 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. . 201 

his maiden aunts, on whom the rogue played a thousand 
httle knaveries with impunity; he was full of practical 
jokes, and his delight was to tease his aunts and cousins; 
yet, like all madcap youngsters, he was a universal favorite 
among the women. The most interesting couple in th( 
dance was the young officer, and a ward of the squire's, a 
beautiful blushing girl of seventeen. From several shy 
glances which I had noticed in the course of the evening, I 
suspected there was a little kindness growing up between 
them; and, indeed, the young soldier was just the hero to 
captivate a romantic girl. He was tall, slender, and hand- 
some; and, like most young British officers of late years, 
had picked up various small accomplishments on the conti- 
nent — ^he could talk French and Italian — draw landscajDCS 
— sing very tolerably — dance divinely; but, above all, he 
had been wounded at Waterloo; what girl of seventeen, 
well read in poetry and romance, could resist such a mirror 
of cliivalryand perfection? 

The moment the dance w^as over, he caught up a guitar, 
and lolling against the old marble fire-place, in an attitude 
which I am half inclined to suspect was studied, began the 
little French air of the '* Troubadour.'-' The squire, how- 
ever, exclaimed against having anything on Christmas-eve 
but good old English; ujoon which the young minstrel, cast- 
ing uj) his eye for a moment, as if in an effort of memory, 
struck into another strain, and with a charming air of gal- 
lantry, gave Herrick's *^ Night-Piece to Julia:'' 
" Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee, 

The shooting stars attend thee, 
And the elves also. 
Whose little eyes sjlow 

Like the sparks of tire, befriend thee. 

' "No Will-o'-th'-Wisp mislight thee; 

Nor snake or slow -worm bite thee; 

But on, on thy way, 

Not making a stay, 
Since ghost there is none to affright thee. 



302 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

" Then let not the dark thee cumber; 
What though the moon does slumber, 

The stars of the night 

Will lend thee their light, 
Like tapers clear without number. 

*' Then, Julia, let me woo thee, 
Thus, thus, to come unto me: 

And when I shall meet 

Thy silvery feet. 
My soul I'll pour into thee." 

The song might or might not have been intended in com- 
pliment to the fair Julia, for so I found his partner was 
called; she, however, was certainly unconscious of any such 
application; for she never looked at the singer, but kept 
her eyes cast uj)on the floor; her face was suffused, it is 
true, with a beautiful blush, and there was a gentle heav- 
ing of the bosom, but all that was doubtless caused by the 
exercise of the dance : indeed, so great was her indifference^ 
that she was amusing herself with plucking to pieces a 
choice bouquet of hot-house flowers, and by the time the 
song was concluded, the nosegay lay in ruins on the floor. 

The |)arty now broke up the night with the kind-hearted 
old custom of shaking hands. As I passed through the 
hall on my way to my chamber, the dying embers of the 
jule-clog still sent forth a dusky glow; and had it not been 
the season when '^ no spirit dares stir abroad,^' I should 
have been half tempted to steal from my room at mid- 
night, and peep whether the fairies might not be at their 
revels about the hearth. 

My chamber was in the old part of the mansion, the 
ponderous furniture of which might have been fabricated 
in the days of the giants. The room was paneled, with 
cornices of heavy carved work, in which flowers a!nd 
grotesque faces were strangely intermingled, and a row of 
l)lack-looking portraits stared mournfully at me from the 
walls. The bed was of rich, though faded damask, with a 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 203 

lofty tester, and stood in a niche opposite a bow-window. 
I had scarcely got into bed when a strain of music seemed 
to break forth in the air just below the whidow: I listened, 
and fomid it proceeded from a band, which I concluded to 
be the waits from some neighboring village. They went 
round the house, playing under the windows. I drew aside 
the curtanis, to hear them more distinctly. The moon- 
beams fell through the upper part of the casement, par- 
tially lighting up the antiquated apartment. The sounds, 
as they receded, became more soft and aerial, and seemed 
to accord with quiet and moonlight. I listened and list- 
ened — they became more and more tender and remote, 
and, as they gradually died away, my head sunk upon the 
pillow, and I fell asleep. 



CHRISTMAS DAY. 

Dark and dull night flie hence away, 
And give the honor to this day 
That sees December turn'd to May. 
******* 

Why does the chilling winter's morne 
Smile like a field beset with corn? 
Or smell like to a meade new-shorne, 
Thus on a sudden? — come and see 
The cause, why things thus fragrant be, 

Herrick. 

"When" I woke the next morning, it seemed as if all the 
events of the preceding evening had been a dream, and 
nothing but the identity of the ancient chamber convinced 
me of their reality. While I lay musing on my j^illow, I 
heard the sound of Httle feet pattering outside of the door, 
and a whisj^ering consultation. Presently a choir of small 
voices chanted forth an old Christmas carol, the burden of 
which was — 

" Rejoice, our Saviour he was born 
On Christmas-day in the morning." 



204 WORKS OF WASHINGTO]Sr IRVING. 

I rose softly, slipped on my clothes, opened the door sud- 
denly, and beheld one of the most beautiful little fairy 
groups that a painter could imagine. It consisted of a 
boy and two girls, the eldest no more than six, and lovely 
as seraphs. They were going the rounds of the house, 
singing at every chamber door, but my sudden appearance 
frightened them into mute bashfulness. They remained 
for a moment -plsijing on their lips with their fingers, and 
now and then stealing a shy glance from under their eye- 
brows, until, as if by one imj)ulse, they scampered away, 
and as they turned an angle of the gallery, I heard them 
laughing in triumph at their escape. 

Everything conspired to produce kind and happy feel- 
ings, in this stronghold of old-fashioned hospitality. The 
window of my chamber looked out upon what in summer 
would have been a beautiful landscape. There was a slop- 
ing lawn, a fine stream winding at the foot of it, and a 
tract of park beyond, with noble clumps of trees, and 
herds of deer. At a distance was a neat hamlet, with the 
smoke from the cottage chimneys hanging over it; and a 
church, with its dark spire in strong relief against the clear 
cold sky. The house was surrounded with evergreens, 
according to the Enghsh custom, which would have given 
almost ap appearance of summer; but the morning was ex- 
tremely frosty; the light vapor of the preceding evening 
had been precipitated by the cold, and covered all the 
trees and every blade of grass with its fine crystallizations. 
The rays of a bright morning sun had a dazzling effect 
among the glittering foliage. A robin perched upon the top 
of a mountain ash, that hung its clusters of red berries just 
before my window, was basking himself in the sunshine, 
and piping a few querulous notes; and a peacock was dis- 
playing all the glories of his train, and strutting with the 
pride and gravity of a Spanish grandee on the terrace-walk 
below. 

I had scarcely dressed myself, when a servant appeared 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 205 

to invite me to family prayers. He showed me the way to 
a small chapel in the old wing of the house, where I found 
the principal part of the family already assembled in a kind 
of gallery, furnished with cushions, hassocks, and large 
j)rayer-books; the servants were seated on benches below. 

The old gentleman read prayers from a desk in front of 
the gallery, and Master Simon acted as clerk and made the 
responses; and I must do him the justice to say, that he 
acquitted himself with great gravity and decorum. 

The service was folloAved by a Christmas carol, which 
Mr. Bracebridge himself had constructed from a poem of 
liis favorite author, Herrick; and it had been adapted to a 
church melody by Master Simon. As there w^ere several 
good voices among the household, the effect was extremely 
jDleasing; but I was particularly gratified by the exaltation 
of heart, and sudden sally of grateful feeling, with which 
the worthy squire delivered one stanza; his eye glistening, 
and his voice rambhng out of all the bounds of time and 
tune: 

** 'Tis thou that crown'st my glittering hearth 
With guiltless mirth, 
And giv'st me Wassaile bowles to drink 
Spic'd to the brink : 

** Lord, 'tis thy plenty dropping hand 
That soiles my land: 
And giv'st me for my bushell sowne, 
Twice ten for one." 

I afterward understood that early morning service was 
Tead on every Sunday and saint^s day throughout the year, 
either by Mr. Bracebridge or some member of the family. 
It was once almost universally the case at the seats of the 
nobility and gentry of England, and it is much to be re- 
gretted that the custom is falling into neglect; for the 
dullest observer must be sensible of the order and serenity 
prevalent in those households, where the occasional exercise 
of a beautiful form of worship in the morning gives, as it 



206 WOEKS OF WASHINGTOI^ IRVING. 

were, the key-note to every temper for the day, and attunes* 
every spirit to harmony. 

Our breakfast consisted of what the squire denominated 
true old Enghsh fare. He indulged in some bitter lamen- 
tations over modern breakfasts of tea and toast, which ho 
censured as among the causes of modern effeminacy and 
weak nerves, and the decline of old English heartiness: 
and though he admitted them to his table to suit the^ 
palates of his guests, yet there was a brave display of cold 
meats, wine, and ale, on the sideboard. 

After breakfast, I walked about the grounds with Frank 
Bracebridge and Master Simon, or Mr. Simon, as he was 
called by everybody but the squire. We were escorted by 
a number of gentlemen-like dogs, that seemed loungers 
about the establishment; from the frisking spaniel to the 
steady old stag-hound — the last of which was of a race that 
had been in the family time out of mind — they were all 
obedient to a dog-whistle which hung to Master Simon's 
button-hole, and in the midst of their gambols would 
glance an eye occasionally upon a small switch he carried 
in his hand. 

The old mansion had a still more venerable look in the 
yellow sunshine than by pale moonlight; and I could not 
but feel the force of the squire's idea, that the formal ter- 
races, heavily molded balustrades, and clipped yew-trees, 
carried with them an air of proud aristocracy. 

There appeared to be an unusual number of peacocks- 
about the place, and I was making some remarks upon 
what I termed a flock of them that were basking under a. 
sunny wall, when I was gently corrected in my phrase- 
ology by Master Simon, who told me that according to the^ 
most ancient and approved treatise on hunting, I must sslj 
a muster of peacocks. '^ In the same way,'' added he, 
with a slight air of pedantry, " we saw a flight of doves or 
swallows, a bevy of quails, a herd of deer, of wrens, or 
cranes, a skulk of foxes, or a building of rooks." He 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GEM. 

went on to inform me that, according to Sir^Anthonv 
Titzherbert, we ought to ascribe to this l^ii-^/ ' '^oUi un- 
aer«lcVrxe\il\g ^'^^^ ?lory; for, beinP- ^x:ased, he will presently 
set uj) his tail, chiefly against the sun, to the intent you 
may the better behold the beauty thereof. But at the fall 
of the leaf, when his tail falleth, he will mourn and hide 
himself in corners, till his tail come again as it was/' 

I could not help smiling at this display of small erudition 
on so whimsical a subject; but I found that the peacocks 
were birds of some consequence at the Hall; for Frank 
Bracebridge informed me that they were great favorites 
■with his father, who was extremely careful to keep uj:) the 
hreed, partly because they belonged to chivalry, and were 
in great request at the stately banquets of the olden time ; 
and partly because they had a pomp and magnificence 
:about them highly becoming an old family mansion. 
Nothing, he was accustomed to say, had an air of greater 
state and dignity, than a peacock perched upon an antique 
stone balustrade. 

Master Simon had now to hurry off, havin'g an appoint- 
ment at the parish church with the village choristers, who 
were to perform some music of his selection. There was 
;something extremely agreeable in the cheerful flow of ani- 
mal spirits of the little man; and I confess that I had been 
somewhat surprised at his apt quotations from authors who 
certainly were not in the range of every-day reading. I 
mentioned this last circumstance to Frank Bracebridge, 
who told me with a smile that Master Simon's whole stock 
of erudition was confined to some half a dozen old authors, 
which the squire had put into his hands, and which he read 
over and over, whenever he had a studious fit; as he some- 
times had on a rainy day, or a long winter evening. Sir 
Anthony Fitzherbert's " Book of Husbandry;'' Mark- 
ham's *' Country Contentments;" the " Tretyse of Hunt- 
ing," by Sir Thomas Cockayne, Knight; Isaac Walton's 
^* Angler," and- two or three more such ancient worthies 



WOKKS OF WASHINGTON lEVING. 

Of the pen, were hk standard authorities; and, like all men 

who J:^^ '"* ^ ^? ^f f' ^^ '^"'^^'^ "P *" *«- -^" 

kind of idolatry, ai.« C™*"*^ ^^^'t"! «" all occasions. A;i^ 
his songs^ they were chiefly picked out of old books in the 
squire^ s library, and adapted to tunes that were popular 
among the choice spirits of the last century. His practical 
application of scraps of literature, however, had caused 
him to be looked upon as a prodigy of book-knowledge by 
all the grooms, huntsmen, and small sportsmen of the 
neighborhood. 

While we were talking, we heard the distant toll of the 
village bell, and I was told that the squire was a little par- 
ticular in having his household at church on a Christmas 
morning; considering it a day of pouring out of thanks 
and rejoicing; for, as old Tusser observed — 

" At Christmas be merry, a7id thankful withal. 
And feast Ihy good neighbors, the great with the small." 

" If you are disposed to go to church, ^^ said Frank Brace- 
bridge, ' ' I can promise you a specimen of my cousin 
Simon^s musical achievements. As the church is destitute 
of an organ, he has formed a band from the village 
amateurs, and established a musical club for their improve- 
ment; he has also sorted a choir, as he sorted my father's 
pack of hounds, according to the directions of Jervaise 
Markham, in his ' Country Contentments;^ for the bass he 
has sought out all the ^ deep, solemn mouths,^ and for the 
tenor the ' loud ringing mouth, ^ among the country bump- 
kins; and for ' sweet mouths,^ he has culled with curious 
taste among the prettiest lassies in the neighborhood; 
though these last, he afl&rms, are the most difficult to keep 
in tune; your pretty female singer being exceedingly way- 
ward and capricious, and very liable to accident. ^^ 

As the morning, though frosty, was remarkably fine and 
clear, the most of the family walked to the church, which 
was a very old building of gray stone, and stood near a 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 209 

village, about half a mile from the park gate. Adjoining 
it was a low snug parsonage, which seemed coeval with the 
church. The front of it was j^erfectly matted with a yew- 
tree, that had been trained against its walls, through the 
dense foliage of which apertures had been formed to admit 
light into the small antique lattices. As we passed this 
sheltered nest, the parson issued forth and preceded us. 

I had expected to see a sleek well-conditioned pastor,, 
such as is often found in a snug living in the vicinity of a 
rich patron^ s table, but I was disajDj^ointed. The joarson 
was a little meager, black-looking man, with a grizzled wig 
that was too wide, and stood off from each ear; so that his 
head seemed to have shrunk away within it, like a dried 
filbert in its shell. He wore a rusty coat, with great 
skirts, and pockets that would have held the church Bible 
and 23rayer-book: and his small legs seemed still smaller, 
from being planted in large shoes, decorated with enor- 
mous buckles. 

I was . informed by Frank Braceb ridge that the parson 
had been a chum of his father^ 3 at Oxford, and had re- 
ceived this living shortly after the latter had come to his 
estate. He was a complete black-letter hunter, and would 
scarcely read a work 2)rinted in the Roman character. 
The editions of Oaxton and Wynkin de Worde were his 
delight; and he was indefatigable in his researches after 
such old English writers as have fallen into oblivion from 
their worthlessness. In deference, perhaps, to the notions 
of Mr. Bracebridge, he had made diligent investigations 
into the festive rites and holiday customs of former times; 
and had been as zealous in the inquiry, as if he had been a 
boon companion; but it was merely with that plodding 
spirit with Avhich men of adust temperament follow ujd any 
track of study, merely because it is denominated learning; 
indifferent to its intrinsic nature, whether it be the illus- 
tration of the wisdom, or of the ribaldry and obscenity of 
antiquity. He had ])ored over these old volumes so in- 



210 WORKS OF WASHIi^GTON IRVIi^G. 

tensely, that they seemed to have been reflected into his 
countenance; which, if the face be indeed an index of the 
mind, might be compared to a title-page of black-letter. 

On reaching the church porch, we found the parson re- 
buking the gray-headed sexton for having used mistletoe 
among the greens with which the church was decorated. 
It was, he observed, an unholy plant, j^i'ofane by having 
been used by the Druids in their mystic ceremonies; and 
though it might be innocently employed in the festive orna- 
menting of halls and kitchens, yet it had been deemed by 
the Fathers of the Church as unhallowed, and totally unfit 
for sacred purposes. So tenacious was he on this point, 
that the poor sexton was obliged to strip down a great part 
of the humble tro23hies of his taste, before the parson would 
consent to enter upon the service of the day. 

The interior of the church was venerable, but simple; 
on the walls were several mural monuments of the Brace- 
bridges, and just beside the altar was a tomb of ancient 
workmanship, on which lay the effigy of a warrior in 
armor, with his legs crossed, a sign of his having been a 
crusader. I was told it was one of the family who had sig- 
nalized himself in the Holy Land, and the same whose 
picture hung over the fire-place in the hall. 

During service. Master Simon stood up in the pew, and 
repeated the responses very audibly; evincing that kind of 
■ceremonious devotion punctually observed by a gentleman 
of the old school, and a man of old family connections. I 
observed, too, that he turned over the leaves of a folio 
prayer-book with something of a flourish, possibly to show 
off an enormous seal-ring which enriched one of his fin- 
gers, and which had the look of a family relic. But he 
was evidently most solicitous about the musical part of the 
service, keeping his eye fixed intently on the choir, and 
beating time with much gesticulation and emphasis. 

The orchestra was in a small gallery, and presented a 
most whimsical grouping of heads, piled one above the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CllAYON, GENT. 311 

other^ among Vliich I particularly noticed that of the vil~ 
lage tailor, a j^ale fellow with a retreating forehead and 
chin, who played on the clarionet, and seemed to have 
blown his face to a point; and there was another, a short 
pursy man, stooping and laboring at a bass viol, so as to 
show nothing but the top of a round bald head, like the^ 
egg of an ostrich. There were two or three pretty faces, 
amoiig the female singers, to which the keen air of a frostj 
morning had given a bright rosy tint : but the gentlemen 
choristers had evidently been chosen, like old Cremonap 
fiddles, more for tone than looks; and as several had to 
sing from the same book, there were clusterings of odd 
physiognomies, not unlike those groups of cherubs we- 
sometimes see on country tombstones. 

The usual services of the choir were managed tolerably 
well, the vocal parts generally lagging a little behind th& 
instrumental, and some loitering fiddler now and then 
making up for lost time by traveling over a passage with 
prodigious celerity, and clearing more bars than the keenest 
fox-hunter, to be in at the death. But the great trial was 
an anthem that had been prepared and arranged by Mas- 
ter Simon, and on which he had founded great expectation. 
Unluckily there was a blunder at the very outset — the 
musicians became flurried ; Master Simon was in a fever ; 
everything went on lamely and irregularh^, until they came 
to a chorus beginning, " Now let us sing with one accord, ^^ 
which seemed to be a signal for parting company: all be- 
came discord and confusion; each shifted for himself, and 
got to the end as well, or, rather, as soon as he could ; ex- 
cepting one old chorister, in a pair of horn spectacles, be- 
striding and pinching a long sonorous nose ; who, happen- 
ing to stand a little apart, and being wrapped up in his 
own melody, kept on a quavering course, wriggling his 
head, ogling his book, and winding all up by a nasal solo 
of at least three bars^ duration. 

The parson gave us a most erudite sermon on the rites 



212 WORKS OF WASHINGTOis^ IRVING. 

and ceremonies of Oliristmas^ and the propriety of observ- 
ing it^ not merely as a day of thanksgiving, but of rejoic- 
ing; supporting the correctness of his opinions by the 
earliest usages of the church, and enforcing them by the 
authorities of Theophilus of Cesarea, St. Cyprian, St. 
Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and a cloud more of saints 
and fathers, from whom he made copious quotations. I 
was a little at a loss to perceive the necessity of such a 
mighty array of forces to maintain a point which no one 
present seemed inclined to dispute; but I soon found that 
the good man had a legion of ideal adversaries to contend 
with; having, in the course of his researches on the subject 
of Christmas, got completely embroiled in the sectarian 
controversies of the Eevolution, when the Puritans made 
such a fierce assault upon the ceremonies of the church, 
and poor old Christmas was driven out of the land by proc- 
lamation of Parliament.* The worthy parson lived but 
with times past, and knew but little of the present. 

Shut up among worm-eaten tomes in the retirement of 
his antiquated little study, the pages of old times were to 
Mm as the gazettes of the day; while the era of the Revo- 
lution was mere modern history. He forgot that nearly 
two centuries had elapsed since the fiery jDcrsecution of poor 
inince-2)ie throughout the land; when |)lum porridge was 

* From the " F]5dng Eagle," a small Gazette, published Decem- 
her 24th, 1652 — "The House spent much time this day about the 
btusiness of the Nav}^ for settling the affairs at sea, and before they 
rose, Avere presented Avith a terrible remonstrance against Christmas- 
day, grounded upon divine Scriptures, 2 Cor. v. 16. 1 Cor. xv. 14. 
17; and in honor of the Lord's Day, grounded upon these Script- 
ures, John XX. I. Rev. i. 10. Psalms, cxviii. 24. Lev. xx. iii. 7, 11. 
Mark xv. 8. Psalms, Ixxxiv. 10; in which Christmas is called Anti- 
christ's masse, and those Masse-mongers and Papists who observe 
it, etc. In consequence of which Parliament spent some time in 
consultation about the abolition of Christmas-day, passed orders to 
that effect, and j-esolved to sit on the following day which was 
commonly called Christmas-day. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 213 

denounced as " mere popery/^ and roast beef as anti-chris- 
tian; and that Christmas had been brought in again tri- 
umphantly with the merry court of King Charles at the Res- 
toration. He kindled into warmth with the ardor of his 
contest, and the host of imaginary foes with whom he had 
to combat; he had a stubborn conflict with old Prynne 
and two or three other forgotten chami3ions of the Round 
Heads, on the subject of Christmas festivity; and concluded 
by urging his hearers, in the most solemn and affecting 
manner, to stand to the traditional customs of their fa- 
thers, and feast and make merry on this jo}^ul anniversary 
of the church. 

I have seldom known a sermon attended apparently with 
more immediate effects; for on leaving the church, the 
congregation seemed one and all possessed with the gayety 
of spirit so earnestly enjoined by their pastor. The elder 
folks gathered in knots in the church-yard, greeting and 
shaking hands; and the children ran about crying, " Ule! 
TJle!^' and repeating some uncouth rhymes,* which the 
parson, who had joined us, informed me had been handed 
down from days of yore. The villagers doffed their hats 
to the squire as he passed, giving him the good wishes of 
the season with every apjDearance of heartfelt sincerity, 
and were invited by him to the Hall, to take something to 
keep out the cold of the weather; and I heard blessings 
littered by several of the poor, which convinced me that, 
in the midst of his enjoyments, the worthy old cavalier had 
not forgotten the true Christmas virtue of charity. 

On our way homeward, his heart seemed overflowing 
with generous and happy feelings. As we passed over a 
rising ground w^hich commanded something of a prospect, 
the sounds of rustic merriment now and then reached our 



Ule! Ule! 

Three puddings in a pule; 

Crack nuts and cry ule!" 



214 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

ears; the squire paused for a few moments^ and looked 
around with an air of inexpressible benignity. The beautjr 
of the day was^ of itself^ sufficient to inspire philanthropy. 
Notwithstanding the frostiness of the mornings the sun in 
his cloudless journey had acquired sufficient power to melt 
away the thin covering of snow from every southerii 
declivity^ and to bring out the living green which adorns 
an English landscape even in midwinter. Large tracts 
of smiling verdure contrasted with the dazzling whiteness 
of the shaded slopes and hollows. Every sheltered banis^ 
on which the broad rays rested, yielded its silver rill of cold 
and limpid water, glittering through the dripping grass;: 
and sent up slight exhalations to contribute to the thin haze 
that hung just above the surface of the earth. There was 
something truly cheering in this triumph of warmth and 
verdure over the frosty thralldom of winter; it was, as the 
squire observed, an emblem of Christmas hosj^itality^, 
breaking through the chills of ceremony and selfishness^ 
and thawing every heart into a flow.. He pointed with 
pleasure to the indications of good cheer reeking from the 
chimneys of the comfortable farm-houses, and low thatched 
cottages. " I love,^^ said he, " to see this day well kept by 
rich and poor; it is a great thing to have one day in the 
year, at least, when you are sure of being welcome wher- 
ever you go, and of having, as it were, the world all thrown 
open to you; and I am almost disposed to join with poor 
Eobin, in his malediction on every churlish enemy to this, 
honest festival : 

" ' Those who at Christmas do repine. 

And would fain hence dispatch him, 
May they with old Duke Humphrey dine. 
Or else may Squire Ketch catch him.' " 

The squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of 
the games and amusements which were once prevalent at 
this season among the lower orders, and countenanced by 
the higher; when the old halls of castles and manor-houses 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 215 

Vere thrown open at daylight; when the tables were cov- 
ered with brawn, and beef, and humming ale; when the 
harp and the carol resounded all day long, and when rich 
and poor were alike welcome to enter and make merry.* 
*' Our old games and local customs, ^^ said he, '' had a great 
effect, in making the peasant fond of his home, and the 
promotion of them by the gentry made him fond of his 
lord. They made the times merrier, and kinder, and bet- 
ter, and I can truly say with one of our old j^oets, 

" I like them well — the curious preciseness 
And all-pretended g-ravity of those 
That seek to banish hence these harmless sports, 
Have thrust away much ancient honesty." 

'* The nation,'^ continued he, " is altered; we have 
almost lost our simple true-hearted peasantry. They have 
broken asimder from the higher classes, and seem to think 
their interests are separate. They have become too know- 
ing, and begin to read newspajDcrs, listen to ale-house poli- 
ticians, and talk of reform. I think one mode to keep 
them in good humor in these hard times, would be for the 
nobility and gentry to pass more time on their estates, min- 
gle more among the country people, and set the merry old 
English games going again. ^^ 

Such was the good squire^ s project for mitigating public 
discontent: and, indeed, he had once attempted to put his 
doctrine in practice, and a few )^ears before had kejDt open 
house during the holidays in the old style. The country 

* An English gentleman at the opening of the great day, i.e., on 
Christmas-day in the morning, had all his tenants and neighborc to 
enter his hall by daybreak. The strong beer was broached, and 
the black jacks went plentifully about with toast sugar, and nut- 
meg and good Cheshire cheese. The Hackin (the great sausage) 
must be boiled by daybreak, or else two young men must take the 
maiden (^■.e. the cook) by the arms and run her round the market- 
place till she is shamed of her laziness." — Bound About Our Sea- 
Coal Fire. 



216 WORKS OF WASHINGTOIT IRVIiTG. 

people^ however^ did not understand how to play their parts 
in the scene of hospitality; many uncouth circumstances 
occurred; the manor was overrun by all the vagrants of 
the country^ and more beggars drawn into the neighborhood 
in one week than the parish officers could get rid of in a 
year. Since then, he had contented himself with inviting 
the decent part of the neighboring peasantry to call at the 
Hall on Christmas-day, and with distributing beef, and 
bread, and ale, among the poor, that they might make 
merry in their own dwellings. 

We had not been long home, when the sound of music 
was heard from a distance. A band of country lads, with- 
out coats, their shirt-sleeves fancifully tied with ribbons, 
their hats decorated with greens, and clubs in their hands, 
were seen advancing up the avenue, followed by a large 
number of villagers and peasantry. They stopped before 
the hall door, where the music struck up a peculiar air, 
and the lads performed a curious and intricate dance, ad- 
vancing, retreating, and striking their clubs together, keep- 
ing exact time to the music; while one, whimsically crowned 
with a fox's skin, the tail of which flaunted down his back, 
kept capering round the skirts of the dance, and rattling a. 
Christmas-box with many antic gesticulations. 

The squire eyed this fanciful exhibition with great inter- 
est and delight, and gave me a full account of its origin, 
which he traced to the times when the Romans held posses- 
sion of the island ; plainly proving that this was a lineal de- : 
scencfant of the sword-dance of the ancients. " It was 
now,"*^ he said, '^ nearly extinct, but he had accidentally 
met with traces of it in the neighborhood, and had encour- 
aged its revival; though, to tell the truth, it was too a23t to 
be followed up by rough cudgel-play, and broken heads, 
in the evening.*' 

After the dance was concluded, the whole party was en- 
tertained with brawn and beef, and stout home-brewed. 
The squire himself mingled among the rustics, and was re- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GP:OFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 217 

reived with awkward demonstrations of deference and 
regard. It is true, I perceived two or three of the younger 
peasants, as they were raising their tankards to their 
mouths, when the squire's back was turned, making some- 
thing of a grimace, and giving each other the wink; but 
the moment they caught my eye they pulled grave faces, 
iind were exceedingly demure. With Master Simon, how- 
ever, they all seemed more at their ease. His varied occu- 
l^ations and amusements had made him well known 
throughout the neighborhood. He was a visitor at every 
farm-house and cottage; gossiped with the farmers and 
their wives; romped with their daughters; and, like that 
type of a vagrant bachelor the humble-bee, tolled the sweets 
from all the rosy lips of the country round. 

The bashfulness of the guests soon gave way before good 
cheer and affability. There is something genuine and 
affectionate in the gayety of the lower orders, when it is 
excited by the bounty and familiarity of those above them; 
the warm glow of gratitude enters into their mirth, and a 
kind word or a small pleasantry frankly uttered by ^ 
patron, gladdens the heart of the dependent more than oil 
and wine. When the squire had retired, the merriment 
increased, and there was much joking and laughter, par- 
ticularly between Master Simon and a hale, ruddy-faced, 
white-headed farmer, who appeared to be the wit of the 
village; for I observed all his companions to wait with open 
mouths for his retorts, and burst into a gratuitous laugh 
before they could well understand them. 

The whole house indeed seemed abandoned to merriment; 
as I passed to my room to dress for dinner, I heard the 
sound of music in a small court, and looking through a 
window that commanded it, I jDerceived a band of wander- 
ing musicians, with pandean pipes, and a tambourine; a 
pretty coquettish house-maid was dancing a jig with a smart 
country lad, while several of the other servants were look- 
ing on. In the midst of her sport, the girl caught a 



218 WORKS OP WASHINGTON IRVING. 

glimpse of my face at the window, and coloring up, ran off 
with an air of roguish affected confusion. 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 

Lo, now is come our joyful'st feast I 

Let every man be jolly, 
Each roome with y vie leaves is drest. 

And every post with holly. 
Now all our neighbors' chimneys smoke. 

And Christmas blocks are burning; 
Their ovens they with bak't meats choke. 
And all their spits are turning. 
Without the door let sorrow lie. 
And if, for cold, it hap to die. 
Wee '1 bury 't in a Christmas pye, 
And evermore be merry. 

Withers, Jiivenilia. 

I HAD finished my toilet, and was loitering^ with Frank 
Bracebridge in the library, when we heard a distant thwack- 
ing sound, which he informed me was the signal for the 
serving up of the dinner. The squire kept up old customs 
in kitchen as well as hall; and the rolling-pin struck upon 
the dresser by the cook summoned the servants to carry in 
the meats. 

" Just in this nick the cook knock'd thrice, 
And all the waiters in a trice. 

His summons did obey; 
Each serving man, with dish in hand, 
Marched boldly up, like our trained band, 

Presented, and away." * 

The dinner was served up in the great hall, where the 
squire always held his Christmas banquet. A blazing 
crackling fire of logs had been heaped on to warm •the spa- 

* Sir John Suckling. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 319 

cions apartment, and the flame went sparkling and wreath- 
ing up the wide-mouthed chimney. The great 2:)icture of 
the crusader and his white horse had heen 2)rof usely deco- 
Tated with greens for the occasion ; and holly and ivy had 
likewise been wreathed round the helmet and weapons on 
the opposite wall, which I understood were the arms of the 
same warrior. I must own, by the bj^e, I had strong 
doubts about the authenticity of the i^ainting and armor aS 
having belonged to the crusader, they certainly having the 
stamp of more recent days; but I was told that the paint- 
ing had been so considered time out of mind; andthat, as 
to the armor, it had been found in a lumber-room, and ele- 
yated to its present situation by the squire, who at once de- 
termined it to be the armor of the family hero; and as he 
was absolute authority on all such subjects in his own house- 
liold, the matter had passed into current acceptation. A 
sideboard was set out just under this chivalric trophy, on 
which was a display of plate that might have vied (at least 
in variety) with Belshazzar^s parade, of the vessels of the 
temple; '' flagons, cans, cups, beakers, goblets, basins, and 
€wers;^^ the gorgeous utensils of good ;jiiip?.nicnc;hip that 
had gradually accumulated through many generations o± 
jovial housekeepers. Before these stood the two yale can- 
dles, beaming like two stars of the first magnitude; other 
lights were distributed in branches, and the whole array 
glittered like a firmament of silver. 

We wei*e ushered into this banqueting scene with the 
sound of minstrelsy; the old harper being seated on a stool 
beside the fire-jDlace, and twanging his instrument with a 
vast deal more power than melody. Never did Christmas 
board display a more goodly and gracious assemblage of 
countenances; "those who were not handsome were, at 
least, happy; and happiness is a rare improver of your 
hard-favored visage. I always consider an old English 
family as well worth studying as a collection of Holbein's 
portraits, or Albert Durer^s jDnnts. There is much an- 



320 WOEKS OF WASHINGTON- IRYING. 

m' 

tiquarian lore to be acquired; much knowledge of the 
physiognomies of former times. Perhaps it may be from 
having continually before their eyes those rows of old fam- 
ily portraits^ with which the mansions of this country are 
stocked; certain it is^ that the quaint features of antiquity 
are often most faithfully perpetuated in these ancient 
lines; and I have traced an old family nose through a 
whole picture-gallery^ legitimately handed down from gen- 
eration to generation, almost from the time of the Con- 
quest. Something of the kind was to be observed in the 
worthy company around me. Many of their faces had evi- 
dently originated in a Gothic age, and been merely copied 
by succeeding generations; and there was one little girl, in 
particular, of staid demeanor, with a high Roman nose, 
and an antique vinegar as23ect, who was a great favorite of 
the squire^ s, being, as he said, a Bracebridge all over, and 
the very counterpart of one of his ancestors who figured in 
the court of Henry YIII. 

The parson said grace, which was not a short familiar 
one, such as is commonly addressed to the Deity in these 
unceremonious dct]'," : ^uui a, Long, courtly, well-worded one 
of the ancient school. There was now a pause, as if some- 
thing was expected ; when suddenly the butler entered the 
hall with some degree of bustle; he was attended by a serv- 
ant on each side with a large wax-light, and bore a silver 
dish, on which v/as an enormous jiig's head, decorated with 
rosemary, with a lemon in its mouth, which was placed 
with great formality at the head of the table. The mo- 
ment this pageant made its appearance, the harper struck 
u|) a flourish; at the conclusion of which the young Oxo- 
nian, on receiving a hint from the squire, gave, with an air 
of the most comic gravity, an old carol, the first verse of 
which was as follows: 

Caput apri defero 
Reddens laudes Domino, 
The boar's head in hand brino: I, 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 221 

With garlands gay and rosemary. 
I pray you all synge merily 
Qui estis in convivio. 

Though prepared to witness many of these little eccen- 
tricities, from being apprised of the peculiar hobby of 
mine host, yet, I confess, the parade with which so odd a 
dish was introduced somewhat perplexed me, until I gath- 
ered from the conversation ^ of the squire and the parson, 
that it was meant to represent the bringing in of the boar's 
head — a dish formerly served up with much ceremony, and 
the sound of minstrelsy and song, at great tables on Christ- 
mas-day. ** I like the old custom,' ' said the squire, *' not 
merely because it is stately and pleasing in itself, but be- 
cause it was observed at the college at Oxford, at which I 
was educated. When I hear the old song chanted, it brings 
to mind the time when I was young and gamesome — and 
the noble old college hall — and my fellow-students loiter- 
ing about in their black gowns; many of whom, poor lads, 
are now in their graves!'' 

The parson, however, whose mind was not haunted by 
such associations, and who was always more taken up with 
the text than the sentiment, objected to the Oxonian's ver- 
sion of the carol; which he affirmed was different from that 
sung at college. He went on, with the dry perseverance 
of a commentator,N^o give the college reading, accompanied 
by sundry annotations; addressing himself at first to the 
company at large; but finding their attention gradually 
diverted to other talk, and other objects, he lowered his 
tone as his number of auditors diminished, until he con- 
cluded his remarks in an under voice, to a fat-headed old 
gentleman next him, who was silently engaged in the dis- 
cussion of a huge plateful of turkey.* 



* The old ceremony of serving up the boar's head on Christmas- 
day is still observed in the hall of Queen's College, Oxford. I was 
favored by the parson with a copy of the carol as now sung, and as. 



222 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

The table was literally loaded with good cheer, and pre- 
sented an epitome of country abundance, ill this season of 
overflowing larders. A distinguished post was allotted to 
" ancient sirloin/^ as mine host termed it; being, as he 
added, " the standard of old English hospitality, and a 
joint of goodly presence, and full of expectation/'' There 
were several dishes quaintly decorated, and which had evi- 
dently something traditional in their embellishments; but 
about which, as I did not like to apj)ear overcurious, I 
asked no questions. 

I could not, however, but notice a pie, magnificently 
decorated with peacocks'' feathers, in imitation of the tail 
of that bird, which overshadowed a considerable tract of 
the table. This, the squire confessed, with some little 
hesitation, was a pheasant j)ie, though a peacock pie was 
certainly the most authentical; but there had been such a 



it ma}- be acceptable to such of my readers as are curious in these 
grave and learned matters, I give it entire : 

" The boar's head in hand bear I, 
Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary; 
And I pray jou, my masters be merry, 
Quot estis in convivio. 
Caput apri defero. 
Reddens laudes Domino. 

*' The boar's head, as I understand, 
Is the rarest dish in all this land, 
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland 
Let us servire cantico. 

Caput apri defero, etc. 

" Our steward hath provided this 
In honor of the King of Bliss, 
Which on this day to be served is . 
In Reginensi Atrio. 

Caput apri defero," 
etc , etc, etc. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 223 

mortality among the peacocks this season, that he could 
not prevail upon himself to have one killed. * 

It Avould be tedious, perhaps, to my wiser readers, who 
may not have that foolish fondness for odd and obsolete 
things to which I am a little given, were I to mention the 
other makeshifts of this worthy old humorist, by which he 
was endeavoring to follow up, though at humble distance,, 
the quaint customs of antiquity. I was pleased, however, 
to see the respect shown to his whims by his children and 
relatives; who, indeed, entered readily into the full spirit 
of them, and seemed all well versed in their parts; having 
doubtless been present at many a rehearsal. I was amused, 
too, at the air of profound gravity with which the butler 
and other servants executed the duties assigned them, how- 
ever eccentric. They had an old-fashioned look ; having, 
for the most part, been brought up in the household, and 
grown into keeping with the antiquated mansion, and the 
humors of its lord ; and most probably looked upon all his 
whimsical regulations as the established laws of honorable 
housekeeping. 

When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a 

* The peacock was ancieutlj^ in great demand for stately enter- 
tainments. Sometimes it was made into a pie, at one end of which 
the head appeared above the crust in all its plumage, with the beak 
richl}'- gilt ; at the other end the tail was displa)'ed. Such pies 
were served up at the solemn banquets of chivalry, when knights- 
errant pledged themselves to undertake any perilous enterprise, 
whence came the ancient oath, used by Justice Shallow, " by cock 
and pie." 

The peacock was also an important dish for the'Christmas feast; 
and Massinger, in his "City Madam," gives some idea of the ex- 
travagance with which this, as well as other dishes, was prepared 
for the gorgeous revels of the olden times: 

Men may talk of Country Christmasses : 

Their thirty pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carps' tongues: 

Their pheasants drench'd with ambergris: the carcasses of three fat 
loechers bruised for gravy to make sauce for a single peacock ! 



224 WORKS OF WASHIl^GTOK IRVIN^G. 

liuge silver vessel;, of rare and curious workmanship^, which 
he placed before the squire. Its appearance was hailed 
with acclamation; being the Wassail Bowl^, so renowned in 
Christmas festivity. The contents had been "prepared by 
the squire himself; for it was a beverage^ in the skillful 
mixture of which he particularly prided himself; alleging 
that it was too abstruse and complex for the comprehen- 
sion of an ordinary servant. It was a potation^ indeed, 
that might well make the heart of a toper leap within him; 
being comiDOsed of the richest and raciest wines, highly, 
spiced and sweetened, with roasted apples bobbing about 
the surface. * 

The old gentleman^s whole countenance beamed with a 
serene look of in-dwelling delight, as he stirred this mighty 
bowl. Having raised it to his lips, with a hearty wish of a 
merry Christmas to all present, he sent it brimming round 
the board, for every one to follow his example according to 
the primitive style; pronouncing it '^ the ancient fountain 
of good feeling, where all hearts met together.''^ f 

There was much laughing and rallying, as the honest 

* The Wassail Bowl was sometimes composed of ale instead of 
wine; with nutmeg, sugar, toast, ginger, and roasted crabs; in this 
way the nut-bro^vn beverage is still prepared in some old families, 
and round the hearth of substantial farmers at Christmas. It is 
also called Lamb's Wool, and it is celebrated by Herrick in his 
*' Twelfth Night:" 

" Next crowne the bowle full 
With gentle Lamb's Wool, 
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, 
With store of ale too 
And thus ye must doe 
To make the Wassaile a swinger." 

f The custom of drinking out of the same cup gave place to each 
liaving his cup. When the steward came to the doore with the 
Wassel, he was to cry three times, Wassel, Wassel, Wassel, and 
then, the chappell (chaplin) was to answer with a song. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 225 

emblem of Christmas joviality circulated, and was kissed 
rather coyly by the ladies. But when it reached Master 
Simon, he raised it in both hands, and with the air of a 
boon companion, struck up an old Wassail Chanson: 

i " The brown bowle. 

The merry brown bowle, 
As it goes round about- a. 

Fill 

Still, 
Lei the world say what it will. 
And drink your fill all out-a. 

" The deep canne, 
The merry deep canne, 
As thou dost freely quaff-a, 
Sing 
Fling, 
Be as merry as a king, 
I And sound a lusty laugh-a.* 



Much of the conversation during dinner turned upon 
family topics, to which I was a stranger. There was, how- 
ever, a great deal of rallying of Master Simon about some 
gay widow, with whom he was accused of having a flirta- 
tion. This attack was commenced by the ladies; but it 
was continued throughout the dinner by the fat-headed old 
gentleman next the parson, with the persevering assiduity 
of a slow hound; being one of these long-winded jokers, 
who, though rather dull at starting game, are unrivaled for 
their talents in hunting it down. At every pause in the 
general conversation, he renewed his bantering in pretty 
much the same terms; winking hard at me with both eyes, 
whenever he gave Master Simon what he considered a 
home thrust. The latter, indeed, seemed fond of being 
teased on the subject, as old bachelors are apt to be; and 
he took occasion to inform me, in an undertone, that the 

* From Poor Robin's Almanack. 



226 WORKS OF WASHIN-GTOIT IRVIlirG. 

lady in question was a prodigiously fine woman and drove 
her own curricle. 

The dinner-time passed away in this flow of innocent 
hilarity^ and though the old hall may have resounded in its 
time with many a scene of broader rout and revel^ yet I 
doubt whether it ever witnessed more honest and genuine 
enjoyment. How easy it is for one benevolent being to 
diffuse pleasure around him; and how truly is a kind heart 
a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity to 
freshen into smiles! The joyous disposition of the worthy 
squire was perfectly contagious; he was happy himself, and 
disposed to make all the world happy; and the little eccen- 
tricities of his humor did but season, in a manner, the 
sweetness of his philanthropy. 

When the ladies had retired, the conversation, as usual, 
became still more animated : many good things were 
broached which had been thought of during dinner, but 
which would not exactly do for that lady's ear; and though 
I can not positively affirm that there was much wit uttered, 
yet I have certainly heard many contests of rare wit pro- 
duce much less laughter. Wit, after all, is a mighty tart, 
pungent ingredient, and much too acid for some stomachs; 
but honest good-humor is the oil and wine of a merry meet- 
ing, and there ^ is no jovial companionship equal to that, 
where the jokes are rather small, and the laughter abun- 
dant. 

The squire told several long stories of early college 
pranks and adventures, in some of which the parson had 
been a sharer; though in looking at the latter, it required 
some effort of imagination to figure such a little dari 
anatomy of a man into the perpetrator of a madcap gam- 
bol. Indeed, the two college chums presented pictures of 
what men may be made by their different lots in life : the 
squire had left the university to live lustily on his paternal 
domains, in the vigorous enjoyment of prosperity and sun- 
shine, and had flourished on to a hearty and florid old age; 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON^, GENT. 227 

whilst the poor parson^ on the contrary, had dried and 
withered away, among dusty tomes, in the silence and 
shadows of his study. Still there seemed to be a spark of 
almost extinguished fire, feebly glimmering in the bottom 
of his soul; and, as the squire liinted at a sly story of the 
parson and a pretty milkmaid whom they once met on the 
banks of the Isis, the old gentleman made an '^ alphabet 
of faces, '^ which, as far as I could decipher his physiogno- 
my, I verily believe was indicative of laughter — indeed, I 
have rarely met with an old gentleman that took absolute 
offense at the imputed gallantries of his youth. 

I found the tide of wine and wassail fast gaining on the 
dry land of sober judgment. The company grew merrier 
and louder, as their jokes grew duller. Master Simon was 
in as chirping a humor as a grasshopper filled with dew; 
his old songs grew of a warmer complexion, and he began 
to talk maudlin about the widow. He even gave a long 
song about the wooing of a widow, which he informed me 
he had gathered from an excellent black-letter work en- 
titled " Cupid^s Solicitor for Love;^' containing store of 
good advice for bachelors, and which he promised to lend 
me; the first verse was to this effect: 

" He that will woo a widow must not dally, 

He must make hay while the sun doth shine: 
He must not stand with her, shall I, shall I, 
But boldly say. Widow, thou must be mine." 

This song inspired the fat-headed old gentleman, who 
made several attempts to tell a rather broad story of Joe 
Miller, that was pat to the purpose; but he always stuck 
in the middle, everybody recollecting the latter part ex- 
cepting himself. The parson, too, began to show the efi:ects 
of good cheer, having gradually settled down into a doze, 
and his wig sitting most suspiciously on one side. Just at 
this juncture, we were summoned to the drawing-room, 
and I suspect, at the ]r '^ ■ instigation of mine host, whose 



228 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

joviality seemed always tempered with a proper love of 
decorum. 

After the dinner-table was removed, the hall was given 
up to the younger members of the family, who, prompted 
to all kinds of noisy mirth by the Oxonian and Master 
Simon, made its old walls rings with their merriment, as 
they played at romping games. I dehght in witnessing 
the gambols of children, and particularly at this happy 
holiday season, and could not help stealing out of the draw- 
ing-room on hearing one of their peals of laughter. I 
found them at the game of blind-man^ s-buff. Master 
Simon, who was the leader of their revels, and seemed on 
all occasions to fulfill the office of that ancient potentate, 
the Lord of Misrule,* was blinded in the midst of the hall. 
The little beings were as busy about him as the mock fairies 
about Falstaif ; pinching him, plucking at the skirts of his 
coat, and tickling him with straws. One fine blue-eyed 
girl of about thirteen, with her flaxen hair all in beautiful 
confusion, her frolic face in a glow, her frock half torn oif 
her shoulders, a complete picture of a romp, was the chief 
tormentor; and from the slyness with which Master Simon 
avoided the smaller game, and hemmed this wild little 
nymph in corners, and obliged her to jump shrieking over 
chairs, I suspected the rogue of being not a whit more 
blinded than was convenient. 

When I returned to the drawing-room, I found the 
company seated round the fire, listening to the parson, who 
was deeply ensconced in a high-backed oaken chair, the 
work of some cunning artificer of yore, which had been 
brought from the library for his particular accommoda- 
tion. From this venerable piece of furniture, with which 
his shadowy figure and dark weazen face so admirably ac- 

* At Christmas there was in the Kinges house, wheresoever hee 
was lodged, a lorde of misrule, or mayster of merie disportes, and 
the like had ye in the house of every nobleman of honor; or good 
worshippe, were he spiritual! or temporall. — Stowe. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 229 

corded, he was dealing forth strange accounts of tlie popu- 
lar superstitions and legends of the surrounding country, 
with which he had become acquainted in the course of his 
antiquarian researches. I am inclined to think that the old 
gentleman was himself somewhat tinctured with supersti- 
tion, as men are very apt to be, who live a recluse and 
studious life in a sequestered part of the country, and pore 
over black-letter tracts, so often filled with the marvelous 
and supernatural. He gave us several anecdotes of the 
fancies of the neighboring peasantry, concerning the efiSgy 
of the crusader, which lay on the tomb by the church altar. 
As it was the only monument of the kind in that part of 
the country, it had always been regarded with feelings of 
superstition by the good wives of the village. It was said 
to get up from the tomb and walk the rounds of the church- 
yard in stormy nights, particularly when it thundered; and 
one old woman whose cottage bordered on the church-yard, 
had seen it through the windows of the church, when the 
moon shone, slowly pacing up and down the aisles. It was 
the belief that some wrong had been left unredressed by the 
deceased, or some treasure hidden, which kej^t the spirit in 
a state of trouble and restlessness. Some talked of gold 
and jewels buried in the tomb, over which the specter kept 
watch; and there was a story current of a sexton, in old times, 
-who endeavored to break his way to the cofiin at night; but 
just as he reached it received a violent blow from the mar- 
ble hand of the effigy, which stretched him senseless on the 
pavement. These tales were often laughed at by some of 
the sturdier among the rustics; yet, when night came on, 
there were many of the stoutest unbelievers that were shy 
of venturing alone in the footpath that led across the 
church-yard. 

From these and other anecdotes that followed, the cru- 
sader appeared to be the favorite hero of ghost stories 
throughout the vicinity. His picture, which hung up in 
the hall, was thought by the servants to have something 



230 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRYING. 

supernatural about it: for they remarked that, in whatever 
part of the hall you went, the eyes of the warrior were still 
fixed on you. The old porter^s wife, too, at the lodge, 
who had been born and brought up in the family, and was 
a great gossip among the maid-servants, affirmed, that in 
her young days she had often heard say that on Midsum- 
mer-eve, when it was well known all kinds of ghosts, gob- 
lins, and fairies, become visible and walk aoroad, the cru- 
sader used to mount his horse, come down from his picture, 
ride about the house, down the avenue, and so to the 
church to visit the tomb ; on which occasion the church 
door most civilly swung open of itself; not that he needed 
it — ^for he rode through closed gates and even stone walls, 
and had been seen by one of the dairy-maids to pass be- 
tween two bars of the great park gate, making himself as 
thin as a sheet of paper. 

All these superstitions I found had been very much coun- 
tenanced by the squire, who, though not superstitious him- 
seK, was very fond of seeing others so. He listened to 
every goblin tale of the neighboring gossips with infinite 
gravity, and held the porter^ s wife in high favor on ac- 
count of her talent for the marvelous. He was himself a 
great reader of old legends and romances, and often 
lamented that he could not believe in them; for a super- 
stitious person, he thought, must live in a kind of fairy- 
land. 

Whilst we were all attention to the parson^ s stories, our 
ears were suddenly assailed by a burst of heterogeneous 
sounds from the hall, in which was mingled something 
like the clang of rude minstrelsy, with the uproar of many 
small voices and girlish laughter. The door suddenly flew 
open, and a train came trooping into the room, that might 
almost have been mistaken for the breaking up of the court 
of Fairy. That indefatigable spirit. Master Simon, in the 
faithful discharge of his duties as lord of misrule, had con- 
ceived the idea of a Christmas mummery, or masking; and 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOlf, GENT. 231 

having called in to his assistance the Oxonian and the 
young officer, who were equally ripe for anything that 
should occasion romping and merriment, they had carried 
it into instant effect. The old housekeeper had been con- 
suited; the antique clothes-presses and wardrobes rum- 
maged, and made to yield up the relics of finery that had 
not seen the light for several generations: the younger part 
of the company had been privately convened from parlor 
and hall, and the whole had been bedizened out, into a 
burlesque imitation of an antique masque. * 

Master Simon led the van as " Ancient Christmas,"' 
quaintly appareled in a ruff, a short cloak, which had very 
much the aspect of one of the old housekeeper's petticoats, 
and a hat that might have served for a village steeple and 
must indubitably have figured in the days of the Covenant- 
ers. From under this, his nose curved boldly forth, 
flushed with a frost-bitten bloom that seemed the very 
trophy of a December blast. He was accompanied by 
the blue-eyed romp, dished up as *' Dame Mince Pie,'' in 
the venerable magnificence of faded brocade, long 
stomacher, peaked hat and high-heeled shoes. 

The young officer appeared as Robin Hood, in a sport- 
ing dress of Kendal green, and a f oraging-cap with a gold 
tassel. 

The costume, to be sure, did not bear testiniony to deep 
research, and there was an evident eye to the picturesque 
natural to a young gallant in presence of his mistress. The 
fair Julia hung on his arm in a pretty rustic dress, as 
'^ Maid Marian." The rest of the train had been meta- 
morphosed in various ways; the girls trussed up in the 
finery of the ancient belles of the Bracebridge line, and the 

* Maskings or mummeries were favorite sports at Christmas in old 
times, and the wardrobes at halls and manor-houses were often laid 
under contribution to furnish dresses and fantastic disguisings. I 
strongly suspect Master Simon to have taken the idea of his from 
Ben Jonson's "Mask of Christmas." 



232 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

striplings bewliiskered with burnt cork^ and gravely clad 
in broad skirts, hanging sleeves, and full-bottomed wigs, 
to represent the characters of roast beef, plum-pudding, 
and other worthies celebrated in ancient maskings. The 
whole was under the control of the Oxonian, in the appro- 
priate character of Misrule; and I observed that he exer- 
cised rather a mischievous sway with his wajid over the 
smaller personages of the pageant. 

The irruption of this motley crew, with beat of drum, 
according to ancient custom, was the consummation of 
uproar and merriment. Master Simon covered himself 
with glory by the stateliness with which, as Ancient Christ- 
mas, he walked a minuet with the joeerless, though gig- 
gling, Dame Mince Pie. It was followed by a dance from 
all the characters, which, from its medley of costumes, 
seemed as though the old family portraits had skipped 
down from their frames to join in the sport. Different 
centuries were figuring at cross-hands and right and left; 
the dark ages were cutting pirouettes and rigadoons; and 
the days of Queen Bess jigging merrily down the middle, 
through a line of succeeding generations. 

The worthy squire contemplated these fantastic sports, 
and this resurrection of his old wardrobe, with the simple 
relish of childish delight. He stood chuckling and rub- 
bing his hands, and scarcely hearing a word the parson 
said, notwithstanding that the latter was discoursing most 
authentically on the ancient and stately dance of the 
Pavon, or peacock, from which he conceived the minuet to 
be derived.* For my part, I was in a continual excite- 

* Sir John Hawkins speaking of the dance called the Pavon, from 
pavo, a peacock, says, "It is a grave and majestic dance; the 
method of dancing it anciently, was by gentlemen dressed with caps 
and swords, by those of the long robe in their gowns; by the peers 
in their mantles, and by she ladies in gowns with long trains, the 
motion whereof, in dancing, resembled that of a peacock. 

History of Music. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 233 

ment from the varied scenes of whim and innocent gayety 
passing before me. It was inspiring to see wild -eyed frolic 
and warm-hearted hospitality breaking ont from among the 
chills and glooms of winter, and old age throwing off his 
apathy, and catching once more the freshness of yonthful 
enjoyment. I felt also an interest in the scene, from the 
consideration that these fleeting customs were posting fast 
into oblivion, and that this was, perhaps, the only family 
in England in which the whole of them were still punctili- 
ously observed. There was a quaintness, too, mingled with 
all this revelry, that gave it a peculiar zest: it was suited 
to the time and place; and as the old manor-house almost 
reeled with mirth and wassail, it seemed echoing back the 
joviality of long-departed years. 



But enough of Christmas and its gambols: it is time for 
me to pause in this garrulity. Methinks I hear the ques- 
tion asked by graver readers, "' To what purpose is all this 
— how is the world to be made wiser by this talk?'^ Alas! 
is there not wisdom enough extant for the instruction of 
the world? And if not, are there not thousands of abler 
pens laboring for its improvement? It is so much pleas- 
anter to please than to instruct — to play the companion 
rather than the preceptor. 

What, after all, is the mite of wisdom that I could throw 
into the mass of knowledge; or how am I sure that my 
sagest deductions may be safe guides for the opinions of 
others? But in writing to amuse, if I fail, the only evil is 
my own disappointment. If, however, I can by any lucky 
chance, in these days of evil, rub out one wrinkle from the 
brow of care, or beguile the heavy heart of one moment of 
sorrow — if I can now and then penetrate through the 
gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a benevolent view 
of human nature, and make my reader more in good 
humor with his fellow beings and himself, surely, surely, I 
shall not then have written entirely in vain. 



234 WORKS OF WASHINGTOiT IRVING. 

[The following modicum of local history was lately put 
into my hands by an odd-looking old gentleman in a small 
brown wig and snuff-colored coat^ with whom I became 
acquainted in the course of one of my tours of observation 
through the center of that great wilderness^ the City. I 
confess that I was a little dubious at first, whether it was 
not one of those apocryphal tales often passed off upon in- 
quiring travelers like myself; and which have brought our 
general character for veracity into such unmerited 
reproach. On making proper inquiries, however, I have 
received the most satisfactory assurances of the author" s 
probity; and, indeed, have been told that he is actually 
engaged in .a full and particular account of the very inter- 
esting region in which he resides, of which the following 
may be considered merely as a foretaste. ] 



LITTLE BRITAIN. 

What I write is most true. * * * I have a whole booke of cases 
lying by me, which if I should sette foorth, some grave auntients 
(within the hearing of Bow bell) would be out of charity with me. 

Nash. 

In" the center of the great city of London lies a small 
neighborhood, consisting of a cluster of narrow streets and 
courts, of very' venerable and debilitated houses, which goes 
by the name of Little Britain. Christ Church School and 
St. Bartholomew's Hosjoital bound it on the west: Smith- 
field and Long Lane on the north; Aldersgate Street, like 
an arm of the sea, divides it from the eastern part of the 
city; whilst the yawning gulf of Bull-and-Mouth Street 
separates it from Butcher Lane, and the regions of New- 
gate. Over this little territory, thus bounded and des- 
ignated, the great dome of St. Paul's, swelling above 
the intervening houses of Paternoster Eow, Amen Corner, 
and Ave-Maria Lane, looks down with an air of motherly 
protection. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 235 

This quarter derives its appellation from having been, in 
ancient times, the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. As 
London increased, however, rank and fashion rolled off to 
the west, and trade, creeping on at their heels, took posses- 
sion of their deserted abodes. For some time. Little Britain 
became the great mart of learning, and was peopled by the 
busy and prolific race of booksellers: these also gradually 
deserted it, and, emigrating beyond the great strait of New- 
gate Street, settled down in Paternoster Row and St. PauFs 
Church-yard; where they continue to increase and multi- 
ply, even at the present day. 

But though thus fallen into decline. Little Britain still 
bears traces of its former splendor. There are several 
houses, ready to tumble down, the fronts of which are 
magnificently enriched wdth old oaken carviiigs of hideous 
faces, unknown birds, beasts, and fishes, and fruits and 
flowers, which it would perplex a naturalist to classify. 
There are also, in Aldersgate Street, certain remains of 
what were once spacious and lordly family mansions, but 
Avhich have in latter days been subdivided into several tene- 
ments. Here may often be found the family of a petty 
tradesman, with its trumpery furniture, burrowing among 
the relics of antiquated finery, in great rambling time- 
stained apartments, with fretted ceilings, gilded cornices, 
and enormous marble fire-places. The lanes and courts 
also contain. many smaller houses, not on so grand a scale; 
but, like your small ancient gentry, sturdily maintaining 
their claims to equal antiquity. These have their gable- 
ends to the street : great bow-windows, with diamond panes 
set in lead; grotesque carvings; and low-arched door-ways.* 

In this most venerable and sheltered little nest have I 
passed several quiet years of existence, comfortably lodged 



■* It is evident that the author of this interesting communication 
has inchided in his general title of Little Britain, man}^ of those 
little lanes and courts that belong immediately to Cloth Fair, 



236 WORKS OF WASHIIS'GTOK IRVIi^G. 

in the second floor of one of the smallest, but oldest edi- 
fices. My sitting-room is an old wainscoted chamber, with 
small panels, and set oif with a miscellaneous array of fur- 
niture. I have a particular respect for three or four high- 
backed, claw -footed chairs, covered with tarnished brocade, 
which bear the marks of having seen better days, and have 
doubtless figured in some of the old palaces of Little Brit- 
' ain. They seem to me to keep together, and to look down 
with sovereign contempt upon their leathern-bottomed 
neighbors; as I have seen decayed gentry carry a high head 
among the plebeian society with which they were reduced 
to associate. The whole front of my sitting-room is taken 
up with a bow-window; on the panes of which are recorded 
the names of previous occupants for many generations; 
mingled with scraps of very indifierent gentleman-like 
poetry, written in characters which I can scarcely decipher; 
and which extol the charms of many a beauty of Little 
Britain, who has long, long since bloomed, faded, and 
passed away. As I am an idle personage, with no appar- 
ent occupation, and pay my bill regularly every week, I am 
looked upon as the only independent gentleman of the 
neighborhood; and being curious to learn the internal state 
of a community so apparently shut up within itself, I have 
managed to work my way into all the concerns and secrets 
of the place. 

Little Britain may truly be called the hearths-core of the 
city; the stronghold of true John-Bullism. It is a frag- 
ment of London as it was in its better days, with its anti- 
quated folks and fashions. Here flourish in great preserva- 
tion many of the holiday games and customs of yore. The 
inhabitants most religiously eat pancakes on Shrove Tues- 
day; hot-cross-buns on Good Friday, and roast goose at 
Michaelmas; they send love letters on Valentine^ s Day; 
burn the Pope on the Fifth of November, and kiss all the 
girls under the mistletoe at Christmas. Roast beef and 
plum-pudding are also held in superstitious veneration, and 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 237 

port and sherry maintain their grounds as the only true 
English wines — all others being considered vile outlandish 
beverages. 

Little Britain has its long catalogue of city wonders, 
which its inhabitants consider the wonders of the world : 
such as the great bell of St. Paul's, which sours all the beer 
when it tolls; the figures that strike the hours at St. Dun- 
stan's clock; the Monument; the lions in the Tower; and 
the wooden giants in Guildhall. They still believe in 
dreams and fortune-telling; and an old woman that lives 
in Bull-and-Mouth Street makes a tolerable subsistence by 
detecting stolen goods, and promising the girls good hus- 
bands. They are apt to be rendered uncomfortable by 
comets and eclipses; and if a dog howls dolefully at night, 
it is looked upon as a sure sign of a death in the place. 
There are even many ghost stories current, particularly con- 
cerning the old mansion-houses; in several of which it is 
said strange sights are sometimes seen. Lords and ladies, 
the former in full-bottomed wigs, hanging sleeves and 
swords, the latter in lappets, stays, hoops, and brocade, 
have been seen walking up and down the great waste cham- 
bers, on moonlight nights; and are supposed to be the 
shades of the ancient proj^rietors in their court-dresses. 

Little Britain has likewise its sages and great men. One 
of the most important of the former is a tall dry old gen- 
tleman, of the name of Skryme, who keeps a small apothe- 
cary's shop. He has a cadaverous countenance, full of 
cavities and projections; with a brown circle round each 
eye, like a pair of horn spectacles. He is much thought of 
by the old women, w^ho consider him as a kind of conjurer, 
because he has two or three stuffed alligators hanghig up in 
his shop, and several snakes in bottles. He is a great 
reader of almanacs and newspapers, and is much given to 
pore over alarming accounts of plots, conspiracies, fires, 
earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions; which last phenomena 
he considers as signs of the times. He has always some 



238 WOEKS OF WASHIKGTOI^ lilVlNG. 

dismal tale of the kind to deal out to his customers^ with 
their doses; and thus at the same time pats both soul and 
body into an uproar. He is a great believer in omens and 
predictions; and has the prophecies of Eobert Mxon and 
Mother Shipton by heart. ISTd man can make so much out 
of an eclipse,, or even an unusually dark day; and he shook 
the tail of the last comet over" the heads of his customers 
and disciples^ until they were nearly frightened out of their 
wits. He has lately got hold of a popular legend or 
prophecy, on which he has been unusually eloquent. There 
has been a saying current among the ancient Sibyls, who 
treasure up these things, that when the grasshopper on the 
top of the Exchange shook hands with the dragon on the 
top of Bow Church steeple, fearful events would take place. 
This strange conjunction, it seems, has as strangely come 
to pass. The same architect has been engaged lately on 
the repairs of the cupola of the Exchange, and the steeple 
of Bow Church; and, fearful to relate, the dragon and the 
grasshopper actually lie, cheek by jowl, in the yard of his 
workshop. 

'^ Others,^' as Mr. Skryme is accustomed to say, " may 
go star-gazing, and look for conjunctions in the heavens, 
but here is a conjunction on the earth, near at home, and 
under our own eyes, which surpasses all the signs and cal- 
culations of astrologers.'^ Since these portentous weather- 
cocks have thus laid their heads together, wonderful events 
had already occurred. The good old king, notwithstand- 
ing that he had lived eighty-two years, had all at once given 
up the ghost; another king had mounted the throne; a 
royal duke had died suddenly — another, in Erance, had 
been murdered; there had been radical meetings in all 
parts of the kingdom; the bloody scenes at Manchester — 
the great plot in Cato Street; and, above all, the queen had 
returned to England ! All these sinister events are recount- 
ed by Mr. Skryme with a mysterious look, and a dismal 
shake of the head; and being taken with his drugs, and 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. ^ 239 

associated in the minjis of his auditors with stuffed sea-mon- 
sters, bottled serpents, and his own visage, which is a title- 
page of tribulation, they have sjDread great gloom through 
the minds of the people in Little Britain. They shake 
their heads whenever they go by Bow Church, and o])serve, 
that they never expected any good to come of taking down 
that steeple, which, in old times, told nothing but glad 
tidings, as the history of Whittington and his cat bears 
witness. 

The rival oracle of Little Britain is a substantial cheese- 
monger, who lives in a fragment of one of the old family 
mansions, and is as magnificently lodged as a round -bellied 
mite in the midst of one of his own Cheshires. Indeed, he 
is a man of no little standing and importance; and his re- 
nown extei^ds through Huggin Lane, and Lad Lane, and 
even into Aldermanbury. His opinion is very much taken 
in the affairs of state, having read the Sunday papers for 
the last half century, together with the " Gentleman^ s 
Magazine,^' " Eapin^s History of England,^' and the 
*' Naval Chronicle.^' His head is stored with invaluable 
maxims, which have borne the test of time and use for cent- 
uries. It is his firm opinion that "it is a moral impossi- 
ble,^^ so long as England is true to herself, that anything 
can shake her: and he has much to say on the subject of 
the national debt; which, somehow or other, he proves to 
be a great national bulwark and blessing. He passed the 
greater part of his life in the purlieus of Little Britain 
antil of late years, when, having become rich, and grown 
into the dignity of a Sunday cane, he begins to take his 
pleasure and see the world. He has therefore made sev- 
eral excursions to Hampstead, Highgate, and other neigh- 
boring towns, where he has passed whole afternoons in 
looking back upon the metropolis through a telescope, and 
endeavoring to descry the steeple of St. Bartholomew's. 
Not a stage-coaehman of Bull-and-Mouth Street but touches 
his hat as he passes; and he is considered quite a patron at 



240 WORKS OF WASHINGTOK IRVIIsTG. 

the coach-office of the Goose and Gridiron^ St. PauPs 
Church-yard. His family have been very urgent for him 
to make an expedition to Margate^ but he has great doubts 
of these new gimcracks the steamboats, and indeed thinks 
himself too far advanced in life to undertake sea-voy- 



Little Britain has occasionally its factions and divisions, 
and party spirit ran very high at one time^ in consequence 
of two rival " Burial Societies " being set up in the place. 
One held its meeting at the Swan and Horse-Shoe, and was 
patronized by the cheesemonger; the other at the Cock and 
Crown, under the auspices of the apothecary: it is needless 
to say, that the latter was the most flourishing. I have 
passed an evening or two at each, and have acquired much 
valuable information as to the best mode of being buried ; 
the comparative merits of church-yards; toother with, 
divers hints on the subject of patent iron coffins. I have 
heard the question discussed in all its bearings, as to the 
legality of prohibiting the latter on account of their dura- 
bility. The feuds occasioned by these societies have hap- 
pily died away of late; but they were for a long time pre- 
vailing themes of controversy, the people of Little Britain 
being extremely solicitous of funeral honors, and of lying 
comfortably in their graves. 

Besides these two funeral societies, there is a third of 
quite a different cast, which tends to throw the sunshine of 
good humor over the whole neighborhood. It meets once 
a week at a little old-fashioned house, kept by a jolly pub- 
lican of the name of Wagstaff, and bearing for insignia a 
resplendent half-moon, with a most seductive bunch of 
grapes. The whole edifice is covered with inscriptions tp 
catch the eye of ^tlie thirsty wayfarer; such as " Truman, 
Hanbury & Co.^s Entire, ^^ " Wine, Eum, and Brandy 
Vaults,'^ " Old Tom, Eum, and Compounds, &c.^' This, 
indeed, has been a temple of Bacchus and Momus, from 
time immemorial. It has always been in the family of the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOIT, GENT. 241 

Wagstaffs, so that its history is tolerably preserved by the 
present landlord. It was much frequented by the gallants 
and cavalieros of the reign of Elizabeth, and was looked 
into now and then by the wits of Charles the Second's day. 
But what AVagstaff principally prides himself upon is, that 
Henry the Eighthy in one of his nocturnal rambles, broke 
the head of one of his ancestors with his famous walkhig- 
siaff. This, however, is considered as rather a dubious 
and vainglorious boast of the landlord. 

The club which now holds its weekly sessions here goes 
by the name of " the Roaring Lads of Little Britain.'' 
They abound in all catches, glees, and choice stories, that 
are traditional in the place, and not to be met with in any 
other part of the metropolis. There is a madcap under- 
taker, who is inimitable at a merry song; but the life of 
the dtib, and indeed the prime wit of Little Britain, is bully 
Wagstaff himself. His ancestors were all wags before him, 
and he has inherited with the inn a large stock of songs and 
jokes, which go with it from generation to generation as 
heirlooms. He is a dapper little fellow, with bandy legs 
and pot belly, a red face with a moist merry eye, and a lit- 
tle shock of gray hair behind. At the opening of every 
club night, he is called in to sing his " Confession of 
Faith," which is the famous old drinking trowl from Gam- 
mer Gurton's needle. He sings it, to be sure, with many 
variations, as he received it from his father's lips; for it 
had been a standing favorite at the Half -Moon and Bunch 
of Grapes ever since it was written : nay, he affirms that his 
predecessors have often had the honor of singing it before 
the nobility and gentry at Christmas mummeries, v/hen 
Little Britain was in all its glory.* 



* As mine host of the " Half -Moon's Confession of Faith "may 
not be familiar to the majority of readers, and as it is a specimen of 
the cm-rent songs of Little Britain, I subjoin it in its original orthog- 
raphy. I would observe that the whole club always join in the 



242 WORKS OF WASHINGTOIT IRVING. 

It would do one's heart good to hear on a club-night the 
shouts of merriment^ the snatches of song, and now and 
then the choral bursts of half a dozen discordant voices, 
which issue from this jovial mansion. At such times the 
street is Mned with listeners, who enjoy a delight equal to 



chorus with a fearful thumping on the table and clattering of 
pewter pots. 

** I cannot eate but lytle meate, 
My stomacke is not good, 
But sure I thinke that I can drinke 

With him that weares a hood. 
Though I go bare take ye no care, 

I nothing am a colde, 
I stuff my skyn so full within, 
Of joly good ale and olde. 

Chorus. *' Back and syde go bare, go bare, 
Both foot and hand go colde. 
But belly, God send thee good ale ynoughe, 
Whether it be new or olde. . 

•* I have no rost, but a nut-brown toste 

And a crab laid in the fyre; 
A little breade shall do me steade. 

Much breade I not desyre. 
No frost nor snow, nor winde I trowe, 

Can hurt me if I wolde, 
I am so' wrapt and throwly lapt 

Of joly good ale and olde. 

Chorus. " Back and syde go bare, go bare, etc. 

** And Tyb my wife, that, as her lyfe, 

Loveth well good ale to seeke. 
Full oft drynkes she, tyll ye may see 

The teares run down her cheeke. 
Then doth shee trowle to me the bowie. 

Even as a maulte-worme sholde, 
And sayth, sweete harte, I tooke my parte 

Of this joly good ale and olde. 

Chorus. " Back and syde go bare, go bare, etc." 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 243 

that of gazing into a confectioner's window^ or snuffing up 
the steams of a cook-shop. 

There are two annual events which produce great stir 
and sensation m Little Britain: these are St. Bartholomew's 
Fair, and the Lord Maj^or's Day. During the time of the 
fair, which is held in the adjoining regions of Smithfield, 
there is nothing going on but gossiping and gadding about. 
The late quiet streets of Little Britain are overrun with an 
irruption of strange figures and faces; every tavern is a 
scene of rout and revel. The fiddle and the song are heard 
from the tap-room, morning, noon, and night; and at each 
window may be seen some group of boon companions, with 
half-shut eyes, hats on one side, pipe in mouth, and tank- 
ard in hand, fondling and prosing, and singing maudlin 
songs over their liquor. Even the sober decorum of private 
families, which I must say is rigidly kept up at other times 
among my neighbors, is no proof against this Saturnalia. 
There is no such thing as keeping maid -servants within 
doors. Their brains are absolutely set madding with Punch 
and the Puppet Show; the Flying Horses; Siguier Polito; 
the Fire-Eater; the celebrated Mr. Paap; and the Irish 
Giant. The children, too, lavish all their holiday money 
in toys and gilt gingerbread, and fill the house with the 
Lilliputian din of drums, trumpets, and penny whistles. 

*' Now let them drynke, tyll they nod and winke, 

Even as goode fellowes sholde doe, 
They shall not m^sse to have the blisse. 

Good ale doth bring men to. 
And all poor soules that have scowred bowles, 

Or have them Instil}^ trolde, 
God save the lyves of them and their wives, 

Whether they be yonge or olde. 

Chorus. " Back and syde go bare, go bare," etc. 

But the Lord Mayor's Day is the great anniversary. 
The lord mayor is looked up to by the inhabitants of Lit- 
tle Britain, as the greatest potentate upon earth; his gilt 



244 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

coach with six horses^ as the summit of human splendor; 
and his procession^ with all the sheriffs and aldermen in his 
train, as the grandest of earthly pageants. How they exult 
in the idea, that the king himself dare not enter the city 
without first knocking at the gate of Temple Bar, and ask- 
ing permission of the lord mayor; for if he did, heaven and 
earth ! there is no knowing what might be the consequence. 
The man in armor who rides before the lord mayor, and is ^ 
the city champion, has orders to cut down everybody that 
offends against the dignity of the city; and then there is 
the little man with a velvet porringer on his head, who sits 
at the window of the state coach and holds the city sword, 
as long as a j)ike-staff — Od^s blood! if he once draws that 
sword, majesty itself is not safe ! 

Under the protection of its mighty potentate, therefore, 
the good people of Little Britain sleep in peace. Temple 
Bar is an effectual barrier against all internal foes; and as 
to foreign invasion, the lord mayor has but to throw him- 
self into the Tower, call in the train bands, and put the 
standing army of beef -eaters under arms, and he may bid 
defiance to the world! 

Thus wrapped up in its own concerns, its own habits, 
and its own opinions. Little Britain has long flourished as 
a sound heart to this great fungous metropolis. I have 
pleased myself with considering it as a chosen spot, ^here 
the principles of sturdy John BuUism were garnered up, 
like seed-corn, to renew the national character, when it had 
run to waste and degeneracy. I have rejoiced also in the 
general spirit of harmony that prevailed throughout it; for 
though there might now and then be a few clashes of opin- 
ion between the adherents of the cheesemonger and the 
apothecary, and an occasional feud between the burial socie- 
ties, yet these were but transient clouds, and soon passed 
away. The neighbors met with good-will, parted with a 
shake of the hand, and never abused each other except be- 
hind their backs. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 245 

I could give rare descriptions of snug junketing parties 
at which I have been present; where we played at All-Fours, 
Pope-Joan, Tom-come-tickle-me, and other choice old 
games: and where we sometimes had a good old English 
country dance, to the tune of Sir Roger de Coverley. Once 
a year also the neighbors would gather together, and go on 
a gypsy party to Epping Forest. It would have done any 
man^s heart good to see the merriment that took place here, 
as we banqueted on the grass under the trees. How we 
made the woods ring with bursts of laughter at the songs 
of little Wagstaff and the merry undertaker! After din- 
ner, too, the young folks would play at blindman's-buff 
and hide-and-seek; and it was amusing to see them tangled 
among the briers, and to hear a fine romping girl now and 
then squeak from among the bushes. The elder folks 
would gather round the cheesemonger and the ajDothecary, 
to hear them talk politics: for they generally brought out a 
newspaper in their pockets, to pass away time in the coun- 
try. They would now and then, to be sure, get a little 
warm in argument; but their disputes were always adjusted 
by reference to a worthy old umbrella-maker in a double 
chin, who, never exactly comprehending the subject, man- 
aged, somehow or other, to decide in favor of both parties. 

All empires, however, says some philosopher or historian, 
are doomed to changes and revolutions. Luxury and in- 
novation creep in; factions arise; and families now and 
then spring up, whose ambition and intrigues throw the 
whole system into confusion. Thus in latter days has the 
tranquillity of Little Britain been grievously disturbed, and 
its golden simplicity of manners threatened with total sub- 
version, by the aspiring family of a retired butcher. 

The family of the Lambs had long been among the most 
thrivmg and popular in the neighborhood ; the Miss Lambs 
were the belles of Little Britain, and everybody was pleased 
when old Lamb had made money enough to shut up shop, 
and put his name on a brass plate on his door. Li an evil 



246 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING, 

hour^ however^ one of the Miss Lambs had the honor of 
being a lady in attendance on the Lady Mayoress, at her 
grand annual ball, on which occasion she wore three tower- 
ing ostrich feathers on her head. The family never got 
over it; they were immediately smitten with a passion for 
high life; set up a one-horse carriage, put a bit of gold lace 
round the errand-boy's hat, and have been the talk and 
detestation of the whole neighborhood ever since. They 
could no longer be induced to play at Pope-Joan or blind- 
man's-buff; they could endure no dances but quadrilles, 
which nobody had ever heard of in Little Britain; and they 
took to reading novels, talking bad French, and playing 
upon the piano. Their brother, too, who had been articled 
to an attorney, set up for a dandy and a critic, characters 
hitherto unknown in these parts; and he confounded the 
worthy folks exceedingly by talking about Kean, the Opera, 
and the " Edinbro' Eeview.'' 

What was still worse, the Lambs gave a grand ball, to 
which they neglected to invite any of their old neighbors; 
but they had a great deal of genteel company from Theo- 
bald's Eoad, Red-lion Square, and other parts toward the 
west. There were several beaus of their brother's acquaint- 
ance from Gray's-Inn lane and Hatton Garden; and not 
less than three aldermen's ladies with their daughters. 
This was not to be forgotten or forgiven. All Little Britain 
was in an uproar with the smacking of whips, the lashing 
of miserable horses, and the rattling and jingling of hack- 
ney-coaches. The gossips of the neighborhood might be 
seen popping their night-caps out at every window, watch- 
ing the crazy vehicles rumble by; and there was a knot of 
virulent old cronies, that kept a lookout from a house just 
opposite the retired butcher's, and scanned and criticised 
every one that knocked at the door. 

The dance was a cause of almost open war, and the 
whole neighborhood declared they would have nothing 
more to say to the Lambs. It is true that Mrs. Lamb, 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 247 

when she had no engagements with her quality acquaint- 
ance, would give little humdrum tea junketings to some of 
her old cronies, " quite/' as slie would say, '' in a friendly 
way;'' and it is equally true than her invitations were 
always accepted, in S2>ite of all previous vows to the con- 
trary. Nay, the good ladies would sit and be delighted 
with the music of the Miss Lambs, who would condescend 
to thrum an Irish Melody for them on the piano; and they 
would listen with wonderful interest to Mrs. Lamb's 
anecdotes of Alderman Plunket's family of Portsoken- 
ward, and the Miss Timberlakes, the rich heiresses of 
Crutched-Friars; but then they relieved their consciences, 
and averted the reproaches of their confederates, by can- 
vassing at the next gossiping convocation everything that 
had passed, and pulling the Lambs and their route all to 
pieces. 

The only one of the family that could not be made 
fashionable, was the retired butcher himself. Honest 
Lamb, in spite of the meekness of his name, was a rough 
hearty old fellow, with the voice of a lion, a head of black 
hair like a shoe-brush, and a broad face mottled like his 
own beef. It was in vain that the daughters always spoke 
of him as the " old gentleman," addressed him as " papa," 
in tones of infinite softness, and endeavored to coax him 
into a dressing-gown and slippers, and other gentlemanly 
habits. Do what they might, there was no keeping down 
the butcher. His sturdy nature would break through all 
their glozings. He had a hearty vulgar good-humor, that 
was irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive 
daughters shudder; and he persisted in wearing his blue 
cotton coat of a morning, dining at two o'clock, and hav- 
ing a "bit of sausage with his tea." 

He was doomed, however, to share the unpopularity of 
his family. He found his old comrades gradually growing 
cold and civil to him; no longer laughing at his jokes; and 
now and then throwing out a fling at '' some people," and 



248 WORKS OF WASHIITGTON IRVING. 

a hint about " quality binding/^ This both nettled and 
perplexed the honest butcher; and his wife and daughters, 
with the consummate policy of the shrewder sex, taking 
advantage of the circumstances, at length prevailed u|)on 
him to give up his afternoon pipe and tankard at Wag- 
staff's; to sit after dinner by himself, and take his pint of 
port — a liquor he detested — and nod in his chair, in solitary 
and dismal gentility. 

The Miss Lambs might now be seen flaunting along the 
streets in French bonnets, with unknown beauS; and talk- 
ing and laughing so loud, that it distressed the nerves of 
every good lady within hearing. They even went so far 
as to attempt . patronage, and actually induced a French 
dancing-master to set up in the neighborhood; but the 
worthy folks of Little Britain took fire at it, and did so 
persecute the poor Gaul, that he was fain to pack up fiddle 
and dancing-pumps, and decam|) with such precij)itation, 
that he absolutely forgot to pay for his lodgings. 

I had flattered myself, at first, with the idea that all this 
fiery indignation on the part of the community was merel;f 
the overflowing of their zeal for good old English manners, 
and their horror of innovation; and I applauded the silent 
contempt they were so vociferous in expressing for upstart 
pride, French fashions, and the Miss Lambs. But I grieve 
to say that I soon perceived the infection had taken hold; 
and that my neighbors, after" condemning, were beginning 
to follow their example. I overheard my landlady impor- 
tuning her husband to let their daughters have one quarter 
at French and music, and that they might take a few les- 
sons in quadrille; I even saw, in the course of a few Sun- 
days, no less than five French bonnets, precisely like those 
of the Miss Lambs, parading about Little Britain. 

I still had my hopes that all this folly would gradually 
die away; that the Lambs might move out of the neigh- 
borhood; might die, or might run away with attorneys^ 
apprentices; and that quiet and simplicity might be again 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 249 

restored to the community. But unluckily a rival power 
arose. An opulent oil-man died, and left a widow with a 
large jointure, and a family of buxom daughters. The 
young ladies had long been repining in secret at the parsi- 
mony of a prudent father, which kept down all their ele- 
gant asjDirings. Their ambition being now no longer 
restrained broke out into a blaze, and they openly took the 
field against the family of the butcher. It is true that the 
Lambs, having had the first start, had naturally an advan- 
tage of them in the fashionable career. They could sjieak 
a little bad French, play the piano, dance quadrilles, and 
had formed high acquaintance, but the Trotters were not 
to be distanced. When the Lambs appeared with two 
feathers in their hats, the Miss Trotters mounted four, and 
of twice as fine colors. If the Lambs gave a dance, the 
Trotters were sure not to be behindhand; and though they 
might not boast of as good company, yet they had double 
the number, and were twice as merry. 

The whole commmiity has at length divided itself into 
fashionable factions, under the banners of these two 
families. The old games of Pope-Joan and Tom-come- 
tickle-me are entirely discarded; there is no such thing as 
getting uj) an honest country-dance; and on my attempt- 
ing to kiss a young lady under the mistletoe last Christmas, 
I was indignantly repulsed; the Miss Lambs having pro- 
nounced it '^ shocking vulgar. ^^ Bitter rivalry has also 
broken out as to the most fashionable part of Little 
Britain; the Lambs standing up for the dignity of Cross- 
Keys-Square, and the Trotters for the vicinity of 8t. Bar- 
tholomew's. 

Thus is this little territory torn by factions and internal 
dissensions, like the great empire whose name it bears; 
and what will be the result woiild puzzle the apothecary 
himself, with all his talent at prognostics, to determine; 
though I apprehend that it will terminate in the total 
downfall of genuine Jolm Bullism. 



250 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOK IRVIKO. 

The immediate effects are extremely unpleasant to me. 
Being a single man^ and, as I observed before, ratber an 
idle good-for-nothing personage, I have been considered 
the only gentleman by profession in the place. I stand 
therefore in high favor with both parties, and have to hear 
all their cabinet councils and mutual backbitings. As I 
am too civil not to agi ee with the ladies on all occasions, I 
have committed myself most horribly with both parties, by 
abusing their opponents. I might manage to reconcile 
this to my conscience, which is a truly accommodating one, 
but I can not to my apprehensions — if the Lambs and 
Trotters ever come to a reconciliation, and compare notes, 
I am ruined ! 

I have determined, therefore, to beat a retreat in time, 
and am actually looking out for some other nest in this 
great city, where old English manners are still kept up; 
where French is neither eaten, drank, danced, nor spoken; 
and where there are no fashionable families of retired 
tradesmen. This found, I will, like a veteran rat, hiasten 
away before I have an old house about my ears — ^bid a long, 
though a sorrowful adieu to my present abode — and leave 
the rival factions of the Lambs and the Trotters^ to divide 
the distracted empire of Little Britain. 



STRATFORD-ON'A VOJST. 

Thou soft flowing Avon, by thy silver stream 

Of things more than mortal sweet Shakespeare would dream; 

The fairies by moonlight dance round his green bed, 

For hallowed the turf is which pillowed his head. 

Gakrick. 

To a homeless man, who has no spot on this wide world 
which he can truly call his own, there is a momentary feel- 
ing of something like independence and territorial conse- 
quence, when, after a weary day^s travel, he kicks off his 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYON, GENT. 251 

boots; thrusts his feet into slippers, and stretches himself 
before an inn fire. Let the world without go as it may; 
let kingdoms rise or fall, so long as he has the wherewithal 
to pay his bill, he is, for the time being, the very monarch 
of all he surveys. The arm-chair is his throne, the poker 
his scepter, and the little parlor, of some twelve feet square, 
his undisputed empire. It is a morsel of certainty, 
snatched from the midst of the uncertainties of life; it is a 
sunny moment gleaming out kindly on a cloudy day; and 
he who has advanced some way on the pilgrimage of exist- 
ence, knows the importance of husbanding even morsels 
and moments of enjoyment. '^ Shall I not take mine ease 
in mine inn?^^ thought I, as I gave the fire a stir, lolled 
back in my elbow-chair, and cast a complacent look about 
the little parlor of the Eed Horse, at Stratford-on-Avon. 

The words of sweet Shakespeare were just passing 
through my mind as the clock struck midnight from the 
tower of the church in which he lies buried. There was a 
gentle tap at the door, and a pretty chamber-maid, putting 
in her smiling face, inquired, with a hesitating air, whether 
I had rung. I understood it as a modest hint that it was 
time to retire. My dream of absolute dominion was at an 
end; so abdicating my throne, like a prudent potentate, to 
avoid being deposed, and putting the Stratford Guide-Book 
under my arm, as a pillow companion, I went to bed, and 
dreamed all night of Shakespeare, the Jubilee, and David 
Garrick. 

The next morning was one of those quickening mornings 
which we sometimes have in early spring; for it was about 
the middle of March. The chills of a long winter had 
suddenly given way; the north wind had spent its last 
gasp; and a mild air came stealing from tile west, breath- 
ing the breath of life into nature^ and wooing every bud 
and flower to burst forth into fragrance and beauty. 

I had come to Stratford on a poetical pilgrimage. My 
first visit was to the house where Shakespeare was born. 



252 WOEKS OF WASHINOTOK IRVIKG. 

and where^ according to tradition^ he was brought up to 
his father^ s craft of wool-combing. It is a small mean -look- 
ing edifice of wood and plaster, a true nestling place of 
genius, which seems to delight in hatching its oifspring in 
by-corners. The walls of its squalid chambers are covered 
with names and inscriptions in every language, by pilgrims 
of all nations, ranks, and conditions, from the prince to 
the peasant; and present a simple, but striking instance of 
the spontaneous and universal homage of mankind to the 
great poet of nature. 

The house is shown by a garrulous old lady, in a frosty 
red face, lighted up by a cold blue anxious eye, and gar- 
nished with artificial locks of flaxen hair, curling from 
under an exceedingly dirty cap. She was peculiarly assidu- 
ous in exhibiting the relics with which this, like all other 
celebrated shrines, abounds. There was the shattered 
stock of the very matchlock with which Shakes23eare shot 
the deer, on his poaching exploits. There, too, was his 
tobacco-box; which proves that he was a rival smoker of 
Sir William Ealeigh; the sword also with which he played 
Hamlet; and the identical lantern with which Friar 
Laurence discovered Eomeo and Juliet at the tomb! 
There was an ample supply also of Shakespeare^ s mulberry- 
tree, which seems to have as extraordinary powers of self- 
multiplication as the wood of the true cross; of which there 
is enough extant to build a ship of the line. 

The most favorite object of curiosity, however, is Shake- 
speare^ s chair. It stands in the chimney-nook of a small 
gloomy chamber, just behind what was his father^ s shop. 
Here he may many a time have sat when a boy, watching 
the slowly revolving spit, with all the longing of an urchin; 
or of an evening, listening to the crones and gossips of 
Stratford, dealing forth church-yard tales and legendary 
anecdotes of the troublesome times of England. In this 
chair it is the custom of every one who visits the house to 
sit: whether this be done with the hope of imbibing any of 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 253 

the inspiration of the bard, I am at a loss to say; I merely 
mention the fact; and mine hostess privately assured me, 
that, though built of solid oak, such was the fervent zeal 
of devotees, that the chair had to be new-bottomed at least 
once in three years. It is w^orthy of notice also, in the 
history of this extraordinary chair, that it partakes some- 
thing of the volatile nature of the Santa Casa of Loretto, or 
the flying chair of the Arabian enchanter; for, though sold 
some few years since to a northern princess, yet, strange 
to tell, it has found its way back again to the old chimney- 
corner. 

I am always of easy faith in such matters, and am very 
willing to be deceived, where the deceit is pleasant and 
costs nothing. I am therefore a ready believer in relics, 
legends, and local anecdotes of goblins and great men; and 
would advise all travelers who travel for their gratification 
to be the same. What is it to us whether these stories be 
true or false so long as we can persuade ourselves into the 
belief of them, and enjoy all the charm of the reality? 
There is nothing like resolute good-humored credulity in 
these matters; and on this occasion I w^ent even so far as 
willingly to believe the claims of mine hostess to a lineal 
descent from the poet, when, unluckily for my faith, she 
put into my hands a play of her own composition, which 
set all belief in her consanguinity at defiance. 

From the birthplace of Shakespeare a few paces brought 
me to his grave. He lies buried in the chancel of the 
parish church, a large and venerable pile, moldering with 
age, but richly ornamented. It stands on the banks of the 
Avon, on an embowered point, and separated by adjoining 
gardens from the suburbs of the town. Its situation is 
quiet and retired : the river runs murmuring at the foot of 
the church-yard, and the elms which grow upon its banks 
droop their branches into its clear bosom. An avenue of 
limes, the boughs of which are curiously interlaced, so as 
to form in summer an arched way of foliage, leads up 



254 WORKS OF WASHIKaXON" IRVINE. 

from the gate of the yard to the church porch. The graves 
are overgrown with grass; the gray tombstones, some of 
them nearly sunk into the earth, are haK-covered with 
moss, which has hkewise tinted the reverend old building. 
Small birds have built their nests among the cornices and 
fissures of the walls, and keep up a continual flutter and 
chirping; and rooks are sailing and cawing about its lofty 
gray spire. 

In the course of my rambles I met with the gray-headed 
sexton, and accompanied him home to get the key of the 
church. He had lived in Stratford, man and boy, for 
eighty years, and seemed still to consider himself a vigor- 
ous man, with the trivial exception that he had nearly lost 
the use of his legs for a few years past. His dwelling was 
a cottage, looking out upon the Avon and its bordering 
meadows; and was a picture of that neatness, order, and 
comfort, which pervade the humblest dwelling in this coun- 
try. A low white-washed room, with a stone floor carefully 
scrubbed, served for parlor, kitchen, and hall. Rows of 
pewter and earthen dishes glittered along the dresser. On 
an old oaken table, well rubbed and polished, lay the family 
Bible and prayer-book, and the drawer contained the family 
library, composed of about half a score of well-thumbed 
volumes. An ancient clock, that important article of cot- 
tage furniture, ticked on the opposite side of the room; 
with a bright warming-pan hanging on one side of it, and 
the old mane's horn-handled Sunday cane on the other. 
The flre-place, as usual, was wide and deep enough to ad- 
i^ mit a gossip knot within its jambs. In one corner sat the 
I old man^s granddaughter sewing, a pretty blue-eyed girl — 
' and in the opposite corner was a superannuated crony, 
whom he addressed by the name of John Ange, and who, 
I found, had been his companion from childhood. They 
had played together in infancy; they had worked together 
in manhood; they were now tottering about and gossiping 
away the evening of life; and in a short time they will 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 255 

probably be buried together in the neighboring church- 
yard. It is not often that we see two streams of existence 
runniTig tlius evenly and tranquilly side by side; it is only 
in such quiet *' bosom scenes '' of life that they are to be 
met with. 

I had ho2oed to gather some traditionary anecdotes of the 
bard from these ancient chroniclers; but they had nothing 
new to impart. The long interval, during which Shake- 
speare^s writings lay in comparative neglect, has spread its 
shadow over history; and it is his good or evil lot, that 
scarcely anything remains to his biographers but a scanty 
handful of conjectures. 

The sexton and his companion had been employed as 
carpenters, on the preparations for the celebrated Stratford 
jubilee, and they remembered Garrick, the prime mover of 
the fete, who superintended the arrangements, and who, 
according to the sexton, was '' a short punch man, very 
lively and bustling. '' John Ange had assisted also in cut- 
ting down Shakespeare^ s mulberry- tree, of which he had a 
morsel in his pocket for sale; no doubt a sovereign quickener 
of literary conception. 

I was grieved to hear these two worthy wights speak very 
dubiously of the eloquent dame who shows the Shakespeare 
house. John Ange shook his head when I mentioned her 
valuable and inexhaustible collection of relics, particularly 
her remains of the mulberry-tree; and the old sexton even 
expressed a doubt as to Shakespeare having been born in 
her house. I soon discovered that he looked upon her 
mansion with an evil eye, as a rival to the poet's tomb; the 
latter having comparatively but few visitors. Thus it is 
that historians differ at the very outset, and mere pebbles 
make the stream of truth diverge into different channels, 
even at the fountain-head. 

We approached the church through the avenue of limes, 
and entered by a Gothic porch, highly ornamented with 
carved doors of massive oak. The interior is spacious, and 



256 WORKS OF WASHINGTOJsr IRVING. 

the architecture and embellishments superior to those of 
most country churches. There are several ancient ^monu- 
ments of nobility and gentry, over some of which hang 
funeral escutcheons, and banners dropping piecemeal from 
the walls. The tomb of Shakespeare is in the chancel. 
The place is solemn and sepulchral. Tall elms wave be- 
fore the pointed window, and the Avon, which runs at a 
short distance from the walls, keeps up a low perpetual 
murmur. A flat stone marks the spot where the bard is 
buried. There are four lines inscribed on it, said to have 
been written by himself, and which have in them some- 
thing extremely awful. If they are indeed his own, they 
show that solicitude about the quiet of the grave which 
seems natural to fine sensibilities and thoughtful minds; 

" Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare 
To dig the dust inclosed here. 
Blessed be he that spares these stones, 
And curst be he that moves my bones." 

Just over the grave, in a niche of the wall, is a bust of 
Shakespeare, put up shortly after his death, and considered 
as a resemblance. The aspect is pleasant and serene, with 
a finely arched forehead; and I thought I could read in it 
clear indications of that cheerful, social disposition, by 
which he was as much characterized among his contem- 
poraries as by the vastness of his genius. The inscription 
mentions his age at the time of his decease — fifty-three 
years; an untimely death for the world: for what fruit 
might not have been expected from the golden autumn of 
such a mind, sheltered as it was from the stormy vicissitudes 
of life, and flourishing in the sunshine of popular and royal 
favor! 

The inscription on the tombstone has not been without 
its effect. It has prevented the removal of his remains 
from the bosom of his native place to Westminster Abbey, 
which was at one time contemplated. A few years since 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 257 

also, as some laborers were digging to make an adjoining 
vault, the earth caved in, so as to leave a vacant space 
almost like an arch, through which one might have reached 
into his grave. No one, however, j^'esumed to meddle 
with the remains so awfully guarded by a malediction; and 
lest any of the idle or the curious, or any collector of relics, 
should be tempted to commit depredations, the old sexton 
kept watch over the place for two days, until the vault was 
finished, and the aperture closed again. He told me that 
he had made bold to look in at the hole, but could see 
neither coffin nor bones; nothing but dust. It was some- 
thing, I thought, to have seen the dust of Shakespeare. 

Next to this grave are those of his wife, his favorite 
daughter Mrs. Hall, and others of his family. On a tomb 
close by, also, is a full-length effigy of his old friend John 
Combe, of usurious memory; on whom he is said to have 
written a ludicrous epitaph. There are other monuments 
around, but the mind refuses to dwell on anything that is 
not connected with Shakespeare. His idea pervades the 
place — the whole pile seems but as his mausoleum. The 
feelings, no longer checked and thwarted by doubt, here 
indulge in perfect confidence; other traces of him may be 
false or dubious, but here are palpable evidence and absolute 
certainty. As I trod the sounding joavement, there was 
something intense and thrilling in the idea, that, in very 
truth, the remains of Shakespeare were moldering beneath 
my feet. It was a long time before I could prevail upon 
myself to leave the place; and as I passed through the 
€hurch-yard, I plucked a branch from one of the yew-trees, 
the only relic that I have brought from Stratford. 

I have now visited the usual objects of a j)ilgnni^s devo- 
tion, but I had a desire to see the old family-seat of the 
Lucys at Oharlecot, and to ramble through the park where 
Shakespeare, in company with some of the roisterers of 
Stratford, committed his youthful offense of deer-stealing. 
In this hare-brained exploit we are told that he was taken 

9 



258 WOEKS OF WASHINGTOIT IRYING. 

prisoner, and carried to the keeper^'s lodge, wliere he re- 
mained all night in doleful captivity. When brought into 
the presence of Sir Thomas Lucy, his treatment must have 
been galling and humiliating; for it so wrought upon his 
spirit as to produce a rough pasquinade, vrhich was affixed 
to the park gate at Oharlecot.* 

This flagitious attack upon the dignity of the knight so 
incensed him, that he applied to a lawyer at Warwick to 
put the severity of the laws in force against the rhyming 
deer-stalker. Shakespeare did not wait to brave the united 
puissance of a Knight of the Shire and a country attorney. 
He forthwith abandoned the pleasant banks of the Avon 
and his patenal trade; wandered away to London; became 
a hanger-on to the theaters; then an actor; and, finally, 
wrote for the stage; and thus, through the persecution of 
Sir Thomas Lucy, Stratford lost an indifferent wool- 
comber, and the world gained an immortal poet. He re- 
tained, however, for a long time, a sense of the harsh treat- 
ment of the Lord of Oharlecot, and revenged himself in his 
writings; but in the sportive way of a good-natured mind. 
Sir Thomas is said to be the original of Justice Shallow, 
and the satire is slyly fixed upon him by the justice^ s 
armorial bearings, which, like those of the knight, had 
white luces f in the quarterings. 

* The following is the only stanza extant of this lampoon : 
** A parliament member, a justice of peace, 
At home a poor scarecrow, at London an asse. 
If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it. 
Then Lucy is lowsie, whatever befall it. 
He thinks himself great ; 
Yet an asse in his state. 
We allow by his ears with but asses to mate: 
If Lucy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it. 
Then sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it." 
f The luce is a pike or jack, and abounds in the Avon, about- 
Charlecot. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYOX, GENT. 259 

Various attempts have been made by his biographers to 
soften and exi^lain away this early transgression of the poet; 
but I look upon it as one of those thoughtless exploits nat- 
ural to his situation and turn of mind. Shakesjieare, when 
young, had doubtless all the wildness and irregularity of an 
ardent, undisciplined, and undirected genius. The jjoetic 
temj^erament has naturally something in it of the vagabond. 
When left to itself, it runs loosely and wildly, and delights 
in everything eccentric and licentious. It is often a turn- 
uj) of a die, in the gambling freaks of fate, Avhether a nat- 
ural genius shall turn out a great rogue or a great jDoet; 
and had not Shakespeare^ s mind fortunately taken a liter- 
ary bias, he might have as daringly transcended all civil, 
as he has all dramatic laws. 

I have little doubt that, in early life, when running, like 
an unbroken colt, about the neighborhood of Stratford, he 
was to be found in the company of all kinds of odd and 
anomalous characters; that he associated with all the mad- 
caj)s of the place, and was one of those unlucky urchins, at 
mention of whom old ' men shake their heads, and predict 
that they will one day come to the gallows. To him the 
poaching in Sir Thomas Lucy^s jDark was doubtless like a 
foray to a Scottish knight, and struck his eager, and as yet 
untamed, imagination, as something delightfully adventur- 
ous. * 

* A proof of Shakespeare's random babits and associates in Lis 
youthful days may be found in a traditionar3' anecdote, picked up 
at tStratford by the elder Irehxnd, and mentioned in his " Picturesque 
Yiews on the Avon ": 

" About seven miles from Stratford lies the thirst}' little market 
town of Bedford, famous for its ale. Two societies of the village 
yeomanry used to meet, under the appellation of the Bedford 
topers, and to challenge the lovers of good ale of the neighboring 
villages, to a contest of drinking. Among others, the people of 
Stratford were called out to prove the strength of their heads; and in 
the number of the champions was Shakespeare, who, in spite of the 
proverb, that " they "svho drink beer will think beer," was as true to 



260 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

The old mansion of Oliarlecot and its surrounding park 
still remain in the jDossession of the Lucy family, and are 
peculiarly interesting from being connected with this whim- 
sical but eventful circumstance in the scanty history of the 
bard. As the house stood at little more than three miles'' 
distance from Stratford, I resolved to pay it a pedestrian 
visit, that I might stroll leisurely through some of those 
scenes from which Shakespeare must have derived his earli- 
est ideas of rural imagery. 

The country was yet naked and leafless; but English 
scenery is always verdant, and the sudden change in the- 
temperature of the weather was surprising in its quickening 
effects upon the landscape. It was inspiring and animat- 
ing to witness this first awakening of spring; to feel its 
warm breath stealing over the senses; to see the moist mel- 
low earth beginning to put forth the green sprout and the 
tender blade; and the trees and shrubs, in their reviving 
tints and bursting buds, giving the promise of returning 
foliage and flower. The cold snow-drop, that little bor- 

his ale as Falstaff to liis sack. The chivalry of Stratford was stag- 
gered at the first onset, and sounded a retreat while they had legs 
to carry them off the field. They had scarcely marched a mile, 
when, their legs failing them, they were forced to lie down under a 
crab-tree, where they passed the night. It is still standing, and 
goes by the name of Shakespeare's tree. 

"In the morning his companions awaked the bard, and proposed 
returning to Bedford, but he declined, saying he had had enough* 
having drunk with 

" ' Piping Feb worth, Dancing Marston, 
Haunted Hilbro', Hungry Grafton, 
Drudgmg Exhall, Papist Wicksford, 
Beggarly Broom, and drunken Bedford.' 
"The villages here alluded to," says Ireland, "still bear the 
epithets thus given them: the people of Pebworth are still famed 
for their skill on the pipe and tabor; Hillborough is now called 
Haunted Hillborough ; and Grafton is famous for the poverty of 
its soil." 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOiT, GENT. 261 

derer on tlie skirts of winter, was to be seen with its chaste 
white blossoms in the small gardens before the cottages. 
The bleating of the new-dropped lambs was faintly heard 
from, the fields. The sparrow twittered about the thatched 
«aves and budding hedges; the robin threw a livelier note 
into his late querulous wintery strain; and the lark, spring- 
ing up from -the reeking bosom of the meadow, towered 
away into the bright fleecy cloud, pouring forth torrents of 
melody. As I watched the little songster, mounting up 
higher and higher, until his body was a mere speck on the 
white bosom of the cloud, while the ear was still filled with 
his music, it called to mind Shakespeare^ s exquisite little 
song in Oymbeline : ^ 

" Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings, 
And Phoebus 'gins arise, 
His steeds to water at those springs, 
On chaliced flowers that lies. 

" And winking mary-buds begin 
To ope their golden eyes ; 
With everj'thing that pretty bin, 
My ladye sweet, arise ! " 

Indeed, the whole country about here is j)oetic ground: 
ever3rthing is associated with the idea of Shakespeare. 
Every old cottage that I saw, I fancied into some resort of 
his boyhood, where he had acquired his intimate knowledge 
of rustic life and manners, and heard those legendary tales 
and wild superstitions which he has woven like witchcraft i 
into his dramas. For in his time, we are told, it was a 
popular amusement in winter evenings " to sit round the 
fire, and tell merry tales of errant knights, queens, lovers, 
lords, ladies, giants, dwarfs, thieves, cheaters, witches, 
fairies, goblins, and friars.''* 

* Scot, in his " Discoverie of Witchcraft," enumerates a host of 
these fireside fancies. ''And they have so fraid us with bull- 
beggars, spirits, witches, urchins, elves, hags, fairies, satyrs, pans. 



262 WORKS OF WASHINGTON lEVING. 

M}^ route for a part of the way lay in sight of the Ayoii, 
which made a variety of the most fanciful doublings and 
windings through a wide and fertile valley: sometimes glit- 
tering from among willows^ which fringed its borders; 
sometimes disappearing among groves^ or beneath green 
banks; and sometimes rambling out into full view^ and 
making an azure sweep round a slope of meadow land. 
This beautiful bosom of country is called the Vale of the 
Eed Horse. A distant line of undulating blue hills seems 
to be its boundary, whilst all the soft intervening landscape 
lies in a manner enchained in the silver links of the Avon. 

After pursuing the road for about three miles, I turned 
oflMto a foot-path, which led along the borders of fields 
and under hedge-rows to a jorivate gate of the park; there 
was a stile, however, for the benefit of the pedestrian; there 
being a j^nblic right of way through the grounds. I delight 
in these hospitable estates, in which every one has a kind 
of projDcrty — at least as far as the foot-path is concerned. 
It in some measure reconciles a j)oor man to his lot, and 
what is more, to the better lot of his neighbor, thus to have 
parks and pleasure-grounds thrown open for his recreation. 
He breathes the pure air as freely, and lolls as luxuriously 
under the shade, as the lord of the soil ; and if he has not 
the privilege of calling all that he sees his own, he has not, 
at the same time, the trouble of paying for it, and keeping 
it in order. 

I now found myself among noble avenues of oaks and 
elms, whose vast size bes23oke the growth of centuries. The 
wind sounded solemnly among their branches, and the rooks 
cawed from their hereditary nests in the tree-tops. The 

faunes, syrens, kit with the can sticke, tritons, centaurs, dwarfes, 
giantes, imps, calcars, conjurors, nymphes, changelings, incubus, 
Robin-good-fellow, the sporne, the mare, the man in the oke, the 
liellwaine, the fler drake, the puckle, Tom Thombe, hobgoblins, 
Tom Tumbler, boneless, and such othei- bugs, that we were afraid of 
our own shadowes." 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CRA.YON, GENT. 2G3 

eye ranged through a long lessening vista, with nothing to 
interrupt the view but a distant statue; and the vagrant 
deer stalking like a shadow across the opening. 

There is something about these stately old avenues that 
has the effect of Gothic architecture, not merely from the 
pretended similarity of form, but from their bearing the 
evidence of long duration, and of having had their origin 
in a period of time with which we associate ideas of roman- 
tic grandeur. They betoken also the long-settled dignity, 
and proudly concentrated independence of an ancient fam- 
ily; and I have heard a worthy but aristocratic old friend 
observe, when speaking of the sumj^tuous palaces of mod- 
ern gentry, that " money could do much with stone and 
mortar, but, thank Heaven, there was no such thing as sud- 
denly building up an avenue of oaks.^^ 

It was from wandering in early life among this rich 
scenery, and about the romantic solitudes of the adjoining 
park of Fullbroke, which then formed a part of the Lucy 
estate, that some of Shakespeare's commentators have sup- 
posed he derived his noble forest meditations of Jacques, 
and the enchanting woodland pictures in '' As you like it.'' 
It is in lonely wanderings through such scenes, that the 
mind drinks deep but quiet draughts of inspiration, and 
becomes intensely sensibly of the beauty and majesty of 
nature. The imagination kindles into reverie and rapture; 
vague but exquisite images and ideas keejD breaking upon 
it; and we revel in a mute and almost uncommunicable 
luxury of thought. It was in some such mood, and per- 
haps under one of those very trees before me, which threw 
their broad shades over the grassy banks and quiverhig 
waters of the Avon, that the poet's fancy may have sallied 
forth into that little song which breathes the very soul of a 
ruwil voluptuary: 

" Under the green- wood tree, 
Who loves to lie wiih me, 



264 WORKS or Washington irving. 

And tune bis meriy throat 
Unto the sweet Mrd's note, 
Come hither, come hither, come hither, 

Here shall he see 

No enemy — 
But winter and rough weather." 

I had now come in sight of the house. It is a large huild- 
ing of brick^ with stone quoins^ and is in the Gothic style 
of Queen Elizabeth's day^ having been built in the first year 
of her reign. The exterior remains very nearly in its orig- 
inal state, and may be considered a fair specimen of the 
residence of a wealthy country gentleman of those days. 
A great gate-way opens from the park into a kind of court- 
yard in front of the house, ornamented with a grass-plot, 
shrubs, and flower-beds. The gate-way is in imitation of 
the ancient barbican; being a kind of outpost, and flanked 
by towers; though evidently for mere ornament, instead of 
defense. The front of the house is completely in the old 
style; with stone shafted casements, a great bow-whidow 
of heavy stone-work, and a portal with armorial bearings 
over it, carved in stone. At each corner of the building is 
an octagon tower, surmounted by a gilt ball and weather- 
cock. 

The Avon, which winds through the park, makes a bend 
just at the foot of a gently sloping bank, which sweeps 
down from the rear of the house. Large herds of deer 
were feeding or reposing upon its borders; and swajis were 
sailing majestically upon its bosom. As I contemplated 
the venerable old mansion, 1 called to mind Ealstaif^'s en- 
comium on Justice Shallow's abode, and the affected in- 
diiierence and real vanity of the latter: *^ 

Falsiaff. You have here a goodly dwelling and a rich. 
Shalloio, Barren, barren, barren; beggars all, beggars all. Sir 
John: — marry, good air. 

Whatever may have been the joviality of the old mansion 
in the days of Shakespeare, it had now an air of stillness 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON-, GENT. !265 

and solitude. The great iron gate-way that opened into the 
court-yard was locked; there was no show of servants 
bustling about the jjlace; the deer gazed quietly at me as I 
passed, being no longer harried by the moss-troopers of 
Stratford. The only sign of domestic life that I met with^ 
was a white cat, stealing with wary look and stealthy pace 
toward the stables, as if on some nefarious expedition. I 
must not omit to mention the carcass of a scoundrel crow 
which I saw suspended against the barn wall, as it shows 
that the Lucys still inherit that lordly abhorrence of j)oach- 
ers, and maintain that rigorous exercise of territorial power 
which was so strenuously manifested in the case of the 
bard. 

After prowling about for some time, I at length found 
my way to a lateral portal, which was the every-day en- 
trance to the mansion. I was courteously received by a 
worthy old housekeeper, who, with the civility and com- 
municativeness of her order, showed me the interior of the 
house. The greater part has undergone alterations, and 
been adapted to modern tastes and modes of living: there 
is a fine old oaken staircase; and the great hall, that noble 
feature in an ancient manor-house, still retains much of 
the appearance it must have had in the days of Shake- 
speare. The ceiling is arched and lofty; and at one end is 
a gallery, in which stands an organ. The weapons and 
trophies of the chase, which formerly adorned the hall of a 
country gentleman, have made way for family portraits. 
There is a wide hospitable fire-j)lace, calculated for an 
ample old-fashioned wood fire, formerly the rallying-j^lace 
of winter festivity. On the opposite side of the hall is clie 
huge Gothic bow-window, with stone shafts, which looks 
out upon the court-yard. Here are emblazoned in stained 
glass the armorial bearings of the Lucy family for many 
generations, some being dated 1558. I was delighted to 
observe, in the quarterings the three ivhite luces by which 
the character of Sir Thomas was first identified with that 



266 WORKS OF WASHIi^GTOlf IRVING. 

of Justice Shallow. They are mentioned in the first scene 
of the Merry " Wives of Windsor/^ where the justice is in a 
rage with Falstaff for having " beaten his men^ killed his 
deer_, and broken into his lodge/ ^ The poet had no doubt 
the offenses of himself and his comrades in m.ind at the 
time, and we may suppose the family pride and vindictive 
threats of the puissant Shallow to be a caricature of the 
pompous indignation of Sir Thomas: 

ShalloiD, Sir Hugh, persuade me not : I will make a Star-Cbam- 
"ber matter of it; if lie were twenty Sir John Falstaffs, lie shall not 
abuse Robert Shallow, Esq. 

Slender. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace, and coram. 
i JShaUoic. Ay, Cousin Slender, and custalorum. 

Slender. Ay, and ratalorum too, and a gentleman born, mastei* 
parson, who w^rites himself Arimgero in any bill, warrant, quit- 
tance, or obligation, Armigero. 

iShaUow. Ay, that I do; and have done an}^ time these three 
liuudred j^ears. 

Slender. All his successors gone before him have done 't, and all 
his ancestors that come after him may; they may give the dozen 
wMte luces in their coat, 

ShalloiD. The counsel shall hear it ; it is a riot. 

Evans. It is not meet the council hear of a riot; there is no fear 
of Got in a riot: the council, hear you, shall desire to hear the fear 
of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments in that. 

ShalloiD. Ha ! o' my life, if 1 were young again, the sword should 
end it! 

ISTear the window thus emblazoned hung a portrait by Sir 
Peter Lely of one of the Lucy family, a great beauty of the 
time of Charles the Second : the old housekeeper shook her 
head as she pointed to the picture, and informed me that 
this lady had been sadly addicted to cards, and had gam- 
bled away a great portion of the family estate, among which 
was that part of the park where Shakespeare and his com- 
rades had killed the deer. The lands thus lost have not 
"been entirely regained by the family, even at the present 
day. It is but justice to this recreant dame to confess that 
she had a surpassingly fine hand and arm. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFRKY CKAYON, GENT. '4iJ7 

The picture which most attracted my attention was a 
great painting over the fire-place^ containing hkenesses of 
Sir Thomas Lucy and his family^ who inhabited the Hall in 
the latter part of Shakesj)eare^s life-time. I at first thought 
that it was the vindictive knight himself, but the house- 
keeper assured me that it was his son; the only likeness 
extant of the former being an effigy upon his tomb in the 
church of the neighboring hamlet of Oharlecot. The pict- 
ure gives a lively idea of the costume and manners of the 
time. Sir Thomas is dressed in ruff and doublet; white 
shoes with roses in them; and has a peaked yellow, or, as 
Master Slender would say, " a cane-colored beard.'' His 
lady is seated on the opposite side of the picture in wide 
ruff and long stomacher, and the children have a most ven- 
erable stiffness and formality of dress. Hounds and span- 
iels are mingled in the family grouj); a hawk is seated on 
his perch in the foreground, and one of the children holds 
a bow; all intimating the knight's skill in hunting, hawk- 
ing, and archery — so indispenable to an accomplished gen- 
tleman in those days.* 

I regretted to find that the ancient furniture of the hall 
had disappeared ; for I had hoped to meet with the stately 
elbow-chair of carved oak, in which the country squire of 
former days was wont to sway the scepter of an empire 

* Bishop Earle, speaking of the country gentleman of his time, 
observes: " His housekeeping is seen much in the different families 
of dogs, and serving-men attendant on their kennels; and the deep-, 
ness of their throats is the depth of his discourse. A hawk he 
esteems the true burden of nobility, and is exceedingly ambitious 
to seem delighted with the sport, and have his fist gloved with his 
jesses." And Gilpin, in his description of a Mr. Hastings, remarks: 
"He kept all sorts of hounds that run buck, fox, hare, otter, and 
badger; and had hawks of all kinds, botli long and short winged. 
His great hall was commonly strewed with marrow-bones, and full 
of hawk-perches, hounds, spaniels, and terriers. On a broad hearth, 
paved with brick, lay some of the choicest terriers, hounds, and 
spaniels." 



268 WORKS OP AVASHIN^GTOK IRVING. 

over his rural domains; and in which it might be presumed 
the redoubted Sir Thomas sat enthroned in awful state, 
when the recreant Shakespeare was brought before him. 
As I like to deck out pictures for my own entertainment, I 
pleased myself with the idea that this very hall had been 
the scene of the unlucky bard^s examination on the morn- 
ing after his captivity in the lodge. I fancied to myself the 
rural 23otentate, surrounded by his body-guard of butler, 
pages, and blue-coated serving-men with their badges; 
while the luckless culprit was brought in, forlorn and chap- 
fallen, in the custody of gamekeepers, huntsmen, and 
whijDpers-in, and followed by a rabble rout of country 
clowns. I fancied bright faces of curious house-maids peep- 
ing from the half -opened doors; while from the gallery the 
fair daughters of the knight leaned gracefully forward, 
eying the youthful prisoner with that pity " that dwells in 
womanhood.''^ Who would have thought that this poor 
varlet, thus trembling before the brief authority of a coun- 
try squire, and the sport of rustic boors, was soon to be- 
come the delight of princes; the theme of all tongues and 
ages; the dictator to the huma^n mind; and was to confer 
immortality on his oppressor by a caricature and a 1am- 
j)oon ! 

I was now invited by the butler to walk into the garden, 
and I felt inclined to visit the orchard and arbor where the 
justice treated Sir John Falstff and Cousin Silence " to a 
last yearns pippen of his own grafting, with a dish of car- 
aways;^" but I had already spent so much of the day in 
my rambling, that I was obliged to give up any further in- 
vestigations. When about to take my leave, I was gratified 
by the civil entreaties of the housekeeper and butler, that I 
w^ould take some refreshment — an instance of good old hos- 
pitality, which I grieve to say we castle -hunters seldom 
meet with in modern days. I make no doubt it is a virtue 
which the present representative of the Lucys inherits from 
Lis ancestors; for Shakespeare, even in his caricature. 



SKEICH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 2G9 

makes Justice Shallow imiDortunate in this resi^ect, as wit- 
ness his pressing instances to Falstaff : 

" By cock and pye. Sir, you shall not away to-night * * * *. I 
will not excuse you ; you shall not be excused ; excuses shall not be 
admitted; there is no excuse shall serve; you shall not be ex- 
cused *•'*•* *. Some pigeons, Davy; a couple of short-legged 
liens; a joint of mutton; and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell 
* William Cook.' " 

I now bade a reluctant farewell to the old hall. My 
mind had become so completely possessed by the imaginary 
scenes and characters connected with it, that I seemed to 
be actually living among them. Everything brought them 
as it were before my eyes; and as the door of the dining- 
room opened, I almost expected to hear the feeble voice of 
Master Silence quavering forth his favorite ditty: 

" 'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all, 
And welcome merry Shrove-tide!" 

On returning to my inn, I could not but reflect on the 
singular gift of the poet; to be able thus to spread the 
magic of his mind over the very face of nature; to give to 
things and places a charm and character not their own, 
and to turn this " working-day world '^ into a perfect fairy- 
land. He is indeed the true enchanter, whose spell oper- 
ates, not upon the -senses, but upon the imagination and 
the heart. Under the wizard influence of Shakespeare I 
liad been walking all day in a complete delusion. I had 
surveyed the landscape through the prism of poetry, which 
tinged every object with the hues of the rainbow. I had 
been surrounded with fancied beings; with mere airy noth- 
ings, conjured up by poetic power; yet which, to me, had 
all the charm of reality. I had heard Jacques soliloquize 
beneath his oak; had beheld the fair Eosalind and her 
companion adventuring through the woodlands; and, 
above all, had been ojice more present in spirit with fat 
Jack Falstaff, and his contemporaries, from the august 



270 WORKS OF WASHIN"GTOi^ IRVING. 

Justice Shallow^ clown to the gentle Master Slender^ and 
the sweet Anne Page. Ten thousand honors and blessmgs 
on the bard who has thus gilded the dull realities of life 
with innocent illusions; who has spread exquisite and un- 
bought pleasures in my checkered path^ and beguiled my 
spirit in many a lonely hour^ with all the cordial and cheer- 
ful sympathies of social life. 

As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my return^ I 
j)aused to contemplate the distant church in which the j)oet 
lies buried, and could not but exult in the malediction 
which has kept his ashes undisturbed in its quiet and hal- 
lowed vaults. What honor could his name have derived 
from being mingled in dusty companionship with the 
epitaphs and escutcheons and venal eulogiums of a titled 
multitude? What would a crowded corner in Westminster 
Abbey have been, compared with this reverend pile, whick 
seems to stand in beautiful loneliness as his sole mauso- 
leum! The solicitude about the grave may be but the off- 
spring of an overwrought sensibility; but human nature is 
made up of foibles and prejudices; and its best and tender- 
est affections are mingled with these factitious feelings. He 
who has sought renown about the world, and has reaped a 
full harvest of worldly favor, will find, after all, that there 
is no love, no admiration, no applause, so sweet to the soul 
as that which sjarings up in his native place. It is there 
that he seeks to be gathered in peace and honor, among his 
kindred and his early friends. And when the weary heart 
and failing head begin to warn him that the evening of life 
is drawing on, he turns as fondly as does the infant to the 
mother^'s arms, to sink to sleep in the bosom of the scene 
of his childhood. 

How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful, 
bard, when, wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful 
would, he cast back a heavy look upon his paternal home, 
could he have foreseen that, before many years, he should 
return to it covered with renown ; that his name should be- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 271 

come the boast and glory of liis native place; that his ashes 
should be religiously guarded as its most i^recious treasure; 
aud that its lessening spire, on which his eyes were fixed in 
tearful contemplation, should one day become the beacon, 
towering amidst the gentle landscape, to guide the literary 
pilgrim of every nation to his tomb ! 



TRAITS OF INDIAN CHARACTER. 

I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin 
liungry, and he gave him not to eat; if ever lie eame cold and 
naked, and he clothed him not. — Speech of an Indian Chief. 

There is something in the character and habits of the 
North American savage, taken in connection with the 
scenery over which he is accustomed to range, its vast 
lakes, boundless forests, majestic rivers, and trackless 
plains, that is, to my mind, wonderfully striking and sub- 
lime. He is formed for the wilderness, as the Arab is for 
the desert. His nature is stern, simj^le, and enduring; 
fitted to grapple with difficulties, and to supjjort ]3rivations. 
There seems but little soil in his heart for the growth of 
the kindly virtues; and yet, if we would but take the 
trouble to penetrate through that jDroud stoicism and 
habitual taciturnity, which look up his character from 
casual observation, we should find him linked to his fellow 
man of civilized life by more of those sjmipathies and affec- 
tions than are usually ascribed to him. 

It has been the lot of the unfortunate aborigines of 
America, in the early periods of colonization, to be doubly 
w^ronged by the white men. They have been dispossessed 
of their hereditary possessions by mercenary and frequent- 
ly wanton warfare; and their characters have been traduced 
by bigoted and interested writers. The colonist has often 
treated them like beasts of the forest; and the author has 



272 WORKS OF WASHIN"GT01^ IRVIN"G. 

endeavored to justify him in liis outrages. The former 
found it easier to exterminate than to civilize — the latter 
to vilify than to discriminate. The appellations of savage 
and pagan were deemed sufficient to sanction the hostili- 
ties of both; and thus the poor wanderers of the forest were 
persecuted and defamed, not because they were guilty, but 
because they were ignorant. 

The rights of the savage have seldom been properly ap- 
preciated or respected by the white man. In peace he has 
too often been the dupe of artful traffic; in war, he has 
been regarded as a ferocious animal, whose life or death was 
a question of mere precaution and convenience. Man is 
cruelly wasteful of life when his own safety is endangered, 
and he is sheltered by impunity; and little mercy is to be 
expected from him when he feels the sting of the reptile,^ 
and is conscious of the power to destroy. 

The same prejudices which were indulged thus early, 
exist in common circulation at the present day. Certain 
learned societies have, it is true, with laudable diligence, 
endeavored to investigate and record the real characters 
and manners of the Indian tribes; the American govern- 
ment, too, has wisely and humanely exerted itself to incul- 
cate a friendly and forbearing spirit toward them, and to 
protect them from fraud and injustice.* The current 
opinion of the Indian character, however, is too apt to be 
formed from the miserable hordes which infest the 
frontiers, and hang on to the skirts of the settlements. 
These are too commonly composed of degenerate beings, 

* The American government has been indefatigable in its exer- 
tions to ameliorate the situation of the Indians, and to introduce 
among them the arts of civilization, and civil and religious knowl- 
edge. To protect them from the frauds of the white traders, no 
purchase of land from them by individuals is permitted; nor is any 
person allowed to receive lands from them as a present, without the 
express sanction of government. These precautions are strictly en- 
forced. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 273 

corrupted and enfeebled by the vices of society, without be- 
ing benefited by its civilization. That proud independence, 
which formed the main pillar of savage virtue, has been 
shaken down, and the whole moral fabric lies ifi ruins. 
Their spirits are humiliated and debased by a sense of in- 
feriority, and their native courage cowed and daunted by 
the superior knowledge and power of their enlightened 
neighbors. Society has advanced upon them like one of 
those withering airs that will sometimes breathe desolation 
over a whole region of fertility. It has enervated their 
strength, multiplied their disease?, and superinduced ujdou 
their original barbarity the low vices of artificial life. It 
has given them a thousand suiDcrfluous wants, whilst it has 
diminished their means of mere existence. It has driven 
before it the animals of the chase, who fly from the sound 
of the ax and the smoke of the settlement, and seek refuge 
in the depths of remoter forests and yet untrodden wilds. 
Thus do we too often find the Indians on our frontiers to 
be mere wrecks and remnants of once powerful tribes, who 
have lingered in the vicinity of the settlements, and sunk 
into precarious and vagabond existence. Poverty, repin- 
ing and hopeless poverty, a canker of the mhid unknown 
in savage life, corrodes tlieir spirits and blights every free 
and noble quality of their natures. They had become 
drunken, indolent, feeble, thievish, and pusillanimous. 
They loiter like vagrants about the settlements among 
spacious dwellings, rej)lete with elaborate comforts, which 
only render them sensible of the comparative wretchedness 
of their own condition. Luxury spreads its ample board 
before their eyes; but they are excluded from the banouet. 
Plenty revels over the fields; but they are starving in the 
midst of its abundance : the whole wilderness has blossomed 
into a garden; but they feel as reptiles that infest it. 

How difierent was their state, while yet the undisputed 
lords of the soil ! Their wants were few, and the means of 
gratification within their reach. They saw every one round 



274: WORKS OF WASHIN'GTOK IRVING. 

them sharing the same lot^ enduring the same hardships, 
feeding on the same ahments, arrayed in the same rude 
garments. No roof then rose, but was open to the home- 
less-stranger; no smoke curled among the trees, but he Ayas 
welcome to sit down by its fire and join the hunter in his 
repast. *' For,^^ says an old historian of New England, 
^' their life is so void of care, and they are so loving also, 
that they make use of those things they enjoy as common 
goods, and are therein so compassionate, that rather than 
one should starve through want, they would starve all; 
thus do they pass their time merrily, not regarding our 
pomj), but are better content with their own, which some 
men esteem so meanly of.^' Such were the Indians, whilst 
in the pride and energy of their primitive natures; they 
resemble those wild plants which thrive best in the shades 
of the forest, but shrink from the hand of cultivation, and 
perish beneath the influence of the sun. 

In discussing the savage character, writers have been too 
prone to indulge in vulgar prejudice and passionate exag- 
geration, instead of the candid temper of true philosophy. 
They have not sufficiently considered the peculiar circum- 
stances in which the Indians have been placed, and the 
peculiar principles under which they have been educated. 
No being acts more rigidly from rule than the Indian. 
His whole conduct is regulated according to some general 
maxims early implanted in his mind. The moral laws that 
govern him are, to be sure, but few; but then he conforms 
to them all — the white man abounds in laws of religion, 
morals, and manners, but how many does he violate ! 

A frequent ground of accusation against the Indians is 
their disregard of treaties, and the treachery and wanton- 
ness with which, i]i time of apparent peace, they will sud- 
denly fly to hostilities. The intercourse of the white men 
with the Indians, however, is too apt to be cold, distrust- 
ful, oppressive, and insulting. They seldom treat them 
with that confidence and frankness which are indispensa- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 275 

ble to real friendship; nor is sufficient caution observed not 
to offend against those feelings of pride or superstition, 
which often prompt the Indian to hostility quicker than 
mere considerations of interest. The solitary savage feels 
silently, but acutely. His sensibilities are not diffused over 
so wide a surface as those of the white man; but they run 
in steadier and deeper channels. His pride, liis affections, 
his superstitions, are all directed toward fewer objects; but 
the wounds inflicted on them are proportionably severe, 
and furnish motives of hostility when we can not sufficient- 
ly appreciate. Where a community is also limited in num- 
ber, and forms one great patriarchal family, as in an 
Indian tribe, the injury of an individual is the injury of 
the whole; and the sentiment of vengeance is almost in- 
stantaneously diffused. One council-fire is sufficient for 
the discussion and arrangement of a plan of hostilities. 
Here all the fighting men and sages assemble. Eloquence 
and superstition combine to inflame the minds of the war- 
riors. The orator awakens their martial ardor, and they 
are wrought up to a kind of religious desperation, by the 
visions of the ]3rophet and the dreamer. 

An instance of one of those sudden exasperafions, arising 
from a motive peculiar to the Indian character, is extant 
in an old record of the early settlement of Massachusetts. 
The planters of Plymouth had defaced the monuments of 
the dead at Passonagessit, and had plundered the grave of 
the Sachem^ s mother of some skins with which it had been 
decorated. The Indians are remarkable for the reverence ' 
which they entertain for the sepulchers of their kindred. 
Tribes that have passed generations exiled from the abodes 
of their ancestors, when by chance they have heen travel- 
ing in the vicinity, have been known to turn aside from the 
highway, and, guided by wonderfully accurate tradition, 
have crossed the country for miles to some tumulus, buried 
perhaps in woods, where the bones of their tribe were an- 
ciently deposited; and there Ijuvu passed hours in silent 



276 WORKS OF AVASHINGTOK IKVIHG. 

meditation. Influenced by this sublime and holy feeling, 
the Sachem, whose mother's tomb had been violated, 
gathered his men together, and addressed them in the fol- 
lowing beautifully simple and pathetic harangue; a curi- 
ous s]")ecimen of Indian eloquence, and an affecting in- 
stance of filial piety in a sayage. 

' ' When last the glorious light of all the sky was under- 
neath this globe, and birds grew silent, I began to settle, 
iis my custom is, to take repase. Before mine eyes were 
fast closed, methought I saw a vision, at which my spirit 
was much troubled; and trembling at that doleful sight, a 
spirit cried aloud, ' Behold, my son, whom I have cher- 
ished, see the breasts that gave thee suck, the hands that 
lapped thee warm, and fed thee oft. Canst thou forget to 
take revenge of those wild people, who have defaced my 
monument in a despiteful manner, disdaining our an- 
tiquities and honorable customs? See, now, the Sachem's 
grave lies like the common people, defaced by an ignoble 
race. Thy mother doth complain, and implores thy aid 
against this thievish people, who have newly intruded on 
our land. If this be suffered, I shall not rest quiet in my 
everlasting habitation.' This said, the spirit vanished, 
and I, all in a sweat, not able scarce to speak, began to 
get some strength, and recollected my spirits that were fled, 
and determined to demand your counsel and assistance.'^ 

I have adduced this anecdote at some length, as it tends 
to show how these sudden acts of hostility, which have been 
attributed to caprice and perfidy, may often arise, from deep 
and generous motives, which our inattention to Indian 
character and customs prevent our properly appreciating. 

Another ground of violent outcry against the Indians, is 
their barbarity to the vanquished. This had its origin 
partly in policy and partly in superstition. The tribes, 
though sometimes called nations, were never so formidable 
in their number, but that the loss of several warriors was 
sensibly felt; this was particularly the case when they had 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOis, GENT. 277 

been frequently engaged in warfare ; and many an instance 
occurs in Indian history, where a tribe, that had long been 
formidable to its neighbors, has been broken u]^ and driven 
?iway, b}' the capture and massacre of its principal fighting 
men. There was a strong temptation, therefore, to the 
victor to be merciless; not so much to gratify any cruel 
revenge, as to jn-ovide for future security. The Indians 
had also the superstitious belief, frequent among barbarous 
nations, and jDrevalent also among the ancients, that the 
manes of their friends who had fallen in battle were soothed 
by the blood of the captives. The prisoners, however, 
who are not thus sacrificed, are adopted into their families 
in the place of the slain, and are treated with the confi- 
dence and affection of relatives and friends; nay, so hos- 
pitable and tender is their entertainment, that when the 
alternative is offered them, they will often prefer to remain 
with their adopted brethren, rather than return to the 
home and the friends of their youth. 

The cruelty of the Indians toward their prisoners has 
been heightened since the colonization of the whites. What 
w^as formerly a compliance with jjolicy and superstition, 
has been exasperated into a gratification of vengeance. 
They can not but be sensible that the white 'men are the 
usurpers of their ancient dominion, the cause of their 
degradation, and the gradual destroyers of their race. They 
go forth to battle, smarting with injuries and indignities 
which they have individually suffered, and they are driven 
to madness and despair by the wide-spreading desolation, 
and the overwhelming ruin of European warfare. The 
whites have too frequently set them an example of violence, 
by burning their villages and laying waste their slender 
means of subsistence; and yet they wonder that savages do 
not show moderation and magnanimity toward those who 
have left them nothing but mere existence and wretched- 
ness. 

We stigmatize the Indians, also, as cowardly and treach- 



278 WORKS OF WASHINGTOK IRYIXG. 

erous, because tliey use stratagem in warfare, in preference- 
to open force; but in this they are fully justified by their 
rude code of honor. They are early taught that stratagem 
is praiseworthy; the bravest warrior thinks it no disgrace 
to lurk in silence, and take every advantage of his foe; ho 
triumphs in the superior craft and sagacity by which he 
has been enabled to surprise and destroy an enemy. In- 
deed, man is naturally more prone to subtilty than ojDcn 
valor, owing to his physical weakness in comparison with 
other animals. They are endowed with natural weapons- 
of defense: with horns, with tusks, with hoofs, and talons; 
but man has to depend on his superior sagacity. In all 
his encounters with these, his proper enemies, he resorts to 
stratagem: and when he perversely turns his hostility 
against his fellow man, he at first continues the same subtle 
mode of warfare. 

The natural principle of war is to do the most harm to 
our enemy, with the least harm to ourselves: and this of 
course is to be effected by stratagem. That chivalrous 
courage which induces us to despise the suggestions of 
prudence and to rush in the face of certain danger, is the 
offspring of society, and produced by education. It is 
honorable, because it is in fact the triumph of lofty senti- 
ment over an instinctive repugnance to pain, and over 
those yearnings after personal ease and security which 
society has condemned as ignoble. It is kept alive by pride 
and the fear of shame; and thus the dread of real evil is 
overcome by the superior dread of an evil which exists but 
in the imagination. It has been cherished and stimulated 
also by various means. It has been the theme of spirit- 
stirring song and chivalrous story. The poet and minstrel 
have delighted to shed round it the splendors of fiction; 
and even the historian has forgotten the sober gravity of 
narration, and broken forth into enthusiasm and rhapsody 
in its praise. Triumphs and gorgeous pageants have been 
its reward; monuments, on which art has exhausted its 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFJIEY CKAYOX, GENT. 279 

kill, and opulence its treasures, have been erected to j^er- 
petuate a nation's gratitude and admiration. Thus arti- 
iicially excited courage has risen to an extraordinary and 
factitious degree of heroism; and, arrayed in all the glori- 
ous '* pomp and circumstance of war,'' this turbulent 
quality has even been able to eclipse many of those quiet, 
but invaluable virtues, which silently ennoble the human 
character, and swell the tide of human happiness. 

But if courage intrinsically consists in the defiance of 
danger and pain, the life of the Indian is a continual ex- 
hibition of it. He lives in a state of perpetual hostility 
and risk. Peril and adventure are congenial to his nature; 
or rather seem necessary to arouse his faculties and to 
give an interest to his existence. Surrounded by hostile 
tribes, whose mode of warfare is by ambush and sur2:)risal, 
he is always j^repared for fight, and lives with his weajDons 
in his hands. As the shi]^ careers in fearful singleness 
through the solitudes of ocean — as the bird mingles among 
clouds and storms, and wings its way, a mere S23eck, 
across the j^athless fields of air; so the Indian holds his 
course, silent, solitary, but undaunted, through the bound- 
less bosom of the wilderness. His expeditiorts may vie in 
distance and danger with the pilgrimages of the devoted, 
or the crusade of the knight-errant. He traverses vast 
forests, exposed to the hazards of lonely sickness, of lurk- 
ing enemies, and joining famine. Stormy lakes, those great 
inland seas, are no obstacles to his wanderings; in his light 
canoe of bark, he sports like a feather on their waves, and 
darts with the swiftness of an arrow down the roaring rapids 
of the rivers. His very subsistence is snatched from the 
midst of toil and peril. He gains his food by the hardships 
and dangers of the chase; he wraps himself in the sj^oils of 
the bear, the panther, and the buffalo; and sleeps among 
the thunders of the cataract. 

No hero of ancient or modern days can surpass the Indian 
in his lofty contempt of death, and the fortitude with which 



280 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

lie sustains its cruelest affliction. Indeed, we here behold 
him rising superior to the white man, in consequence of his 
peculiar education. The latter rushes to glorious death at 
the canon^s mouth; the former calmly contemplates its 
ajDproach, and triumphantly endures it, amidst the varied 
torments of surrounding foes, and the protracted agonies 
of fire. He even takes a pride in taunting his persecutors, 
and jorovoking their ingenuity of torture; and as the de- 
vouring flames prey on his very vitals, and the flesh shrinks 
from the siiiews, he raises his song of triumph, breathing 
the defiance of an unconquered heart, and invoking the 
spirits of his fathers to witness that he dies without a 
groan. 

Notwithstanding the obloquy with which, the early his- 
torians have overshadowed the characters of the unfortu- 
nate natives, some bright gleams occasionally break through, 
which throw a degree of melancholy luster on their memo- 
ries. Facts are occasionally to be met with in the rude 
annals of the eastern provinces, which, though recorded 
with the coloring of prejudice and bigotry, yet speak for 
themselves; and will be dwelt on with applause and sym- 
pathy, when prejudice shall have passed away. 

In one of the homely narratives of the Indian wars in 
New England, there is a touching account of the desola- 
ion carried into the tribe of the Pequod Indians. Human- 
ity shrinks from the cold-blooded detail of indiscriminate 
butchery. In one place we read of the surprisal of an In- 
dian fort in the night, when the wigwams were wrapped in 
flames, and the miserable inhabitants shot down and slain 
in attempting to escape, ^^ all being dispatched and ended 
in the course of an hour. '' After a series of similar trans- 
actions, " our soldiers, ^^ as the historian piously observes, 
''being resolved by God^s assistance to make a final de- 
struction of tliem,^^ the unhappy savages being hunted 
from their homes and fortresses, and pursued with fire and 
sword, a scanty but gallant band, the sad remnant of the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYON, GEKT. 281 

Pequod warriors, witli their wives and children, took ref- 
uge in a swamp. 

Burning Avith indignation, and rendered sullen by des23air; 
with hearts bursting with grief at the destruction of their 
tribe, and spirits galled and sore at the fancied ignominy 
of their defeat, they refused to ask their lives at the hands 
of an insnlting foe, and preferred death to submission. 

As the night drew on, they were surrounded in their dis- 
mal retreat, so as to render escape impracticable. Thus 
situated, their enemy ^' plied them with shot all the time, 
by which means many were killed and buried in the mire.^^ 
In the darkness and fog that preceded the dawn of day, 
some few broke through the besiegers and escaped into the 
woods: " the rest were left to the conquerors, of which 
many were killed in the swamp, like sullen dogs who would 
rather, in their self-willedness and madness, sit still and be 
shot through, or cut to pieces,^' than implore for mercy. 
When the day broke uj)on this handful of forlorn but 
dauntless spirits, the soldiers, we are told, entering the 
swamp, *^ saw several heaps of them sitting close together, 
upon whom they discharged their pieces, laden with ten or 
twelve pistol -bullets at a time; putting the muzzles of the 
pieces under the boughs, within a few yards of them; so 
^s, besides those that were found dead, many more were 
killed and sunk into the mire, and never were minded more 
by friend or foe. '' 

Can any one read this plain unvarnished tale, without 
admiring the stern resolution, the unbending jjride, the 
loftiness of spirit, that seemed to nerve the hearts of these 
self-taught heroes, and to raise them above the instinctive 
feelings of human nature? When the Gauls laid waste the 
city of Rome, they found the senators clothed in their robes 
and seated with stern tranquillity in their curule chairs; in 
this manner they suffered death without resistance or even 
supplication. Such conduct was, in them, applauded as 
noble and magnanimous — in the hapless Indians, it was 



282 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

reviled as obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the 
dupes of show and circumstance! How different is virtue 
clothed in purple and enthroned in state^ from virtue naked 
and destitute^ and perishing obscurely in a wilderness! 

But I forbear to dwell on these gloomy pictures. The 
eastern tribes have long since disappeared; the forests that 
sheltered them have been laid low, and scarce any traces 
remain of them in the thickly settled states of New Eng- 
land, exce|)ting here and there the Indian name of a vil- 
lage or a stream. And such must sooner or later be the 
fate of those other tribes which skirt the frontiers, and have 
occasionally been inveigled from their forests to mingle in 
the wars of white men. In a little while, and they will go 
the way that their brethren have gone before. The few 
hordes which still linger about the shores of Huron and 
Superior, and the tributary streams of the Mississippi, will 
share the fate of those tribes that once spread over Massa-^ 
chusetts and Connecticut, and lorded it along the proud 
banks of the Hudson; of that gigantic race said to have 
existed on the borders of the Susquehanna; and of those 
various nations that flourished about the Potomac and the 
Eappahanock, and that peopled the forests of the vast valley 
of Shenandoah. They will vanish like a vapor from the 
face of the earth; their very history will be lofit in forget- 
fulness; and " the places that now know them will know 
them no more forever. ^^ Or if; perchance, some dubious 
memorial of them should survive, it may be in the romantic 
dreams of the poet, to people in imagination his glades and 
groves, like the fauns and satyrs and sylvan deities of 
antiquity. But should he venture upon the dark story of 
their wrongs and wretchedness; should he tell how they 
were invaded, corrupted, despoiled; driven from their 
native abodes and the sepulchers of their fathers; hunted 
like wild beasts about the earth; and sent down with vio- 
lence and butchery to the grave — posterity will either turn 
with horror and incredulity from the tale, or blush with 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 283 

indignation at the inhumanity of their forefathers. " We 
are driven back/' said an old warrior, " until we can re- 
treat no further — our hatchets are broken, our bows are 
snapped, our fires are nearly extinguished — a little longer 
and tlie white man will cease to persecute us — for we shall 
cease to exist/' 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET, 

AN INDIAN MEMOIR. 

As monumental bronze unchanged his look: 
A soul, that pity touch'd, but never shook; 
Traiu'd, from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier, 
The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook; 
Impassive — fearing but the shame of fear — 
A stoic of the woods — a man without a tear. 

Campbell. 

It is to be regretted that those early writers who treated 
of the discovery and settlement of America, have not given 
us more particular and candid accounts of the remarkable 
characters that flourished in savage life. The scanty anec- 
dotes which have reached us are full of peculiarity and in- 
terest; they furnish us with nearer glimpses of human 
nature, and show what man is in a comparatively primi- 
tive state, and what he owes to civilization. There is some- 
thing of the charm of discovery in lighting upon these wild 
and unexplored tracts of human nature; in witnessing, as 
it were, the native growth of moral sentiment; and perceiv- 
ing those generous and romantic qualities which have been 
-artificially cultivated by society, vegetating in spontaneous 
hardihood and rude magnificence. 

In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost 
the existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion 
of his fellow men, he is constantly acting a studied part. 
The bold and peculiar traits of native character are refined 
away, or softened down by the leveling influence of what is 



284 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

termed good breeding; and he practices so many petty de- 
ceptions^ and affects so many generous sentiments, for the 
purposes of pojDularity, that it is difficult to distinguish his 
real, from his artificial character. The Indian, on the con- 
trary, free from the restraints and refinements of polished 
life, and, in a great degree, a solitary and independent 
being, obeys the impulses of his inclination or the dictates 
of his judgment; and thus the attributes of his nature., 
being freely indulged, grow singly great and striking.. 
Society is like a lawn, where every roughness is smoothed,, 
every bramble eradicated, and where the eye is delighted 
by the smiling verdure of a velvet surface; he, however, 
who would study Nature in its wildness and variety, must 
plunge into the forest, must explore the glen, must stem 
the current, and dare the precipice. 

These reflections arose on casually looking through a 
volume of early colonial history wherein are recorded, with 
great bitterness, the outrages of the Indians, and their wars 
with the settlers of New England. It is painful to per- 
ceive, even from these partial narratives, how the footstej^s 
of civilization may be traced in the blood of the aborigines; 
how easily the colonists were moved to hostility by the lust 
of conquest; how merciless and exterminating was their 
warfare. The imagination shrinks at the idea, how many 
intellectual beings were hunted from the earth — how many 
brave and noble hearts, of Nature^s sterling coinage, were 
broken down and tramjoled in the dust! 

Such was the fate of Philip of Pokanoket, an Indian, 
warrior, whose name was once a terror throughout Massa- 
chusetts and Connecticut. He was the most distinguished 
of a number of contemporary sachems who reigned over 
the Pequods, the Narrhagansets, the Wampanoags, and the 
other eastern tribes, at the time of the first settlement of 
New England: a band of native untaught heroes; who 
made the most generous struggle of which human nature 
is capable; fighting to the last gasp in the cause of their 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 285 

country, without a hope of victory or a thought of renown. 
Worthy of an age of poetry, and fit subjects for local story 
and romantic fiction, they have left scarcely any authentic 
traces on the page of history, but stalk like gigantic 
shadows, in the dim twilight of tradition. * 

When the pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called 
I by their descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the 
New World, from the religious persecutions of the Old, 
their situation was to the last degree gloomy and disheart- 
ening. Few in number, and that number rapidly jierish- 
ing away through sickness and hardships; surrounded by a 
howling wilderness and savage tribes; exposed to the rigors 
of an almost arctic winter, and the vicissitudes of an ever- 
shifting climate ; their minds were filled with doleful fore- 
bodings, and nothing preserved them from sinking into 
despondency but the strong excitement of religious enthu- 
siasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited by Mas- 
sasoit, chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, a powerful 
chief, who reigned over a great extent of country. Instead 
of taking advantage of the scanty number of the strangers, 
and expelling them from his territories into which they had 
intruded, he seemed at once to conceive for them a gener- 
ous friendship, and extended toward them the rites of 
primitive hospitality. He came early i]i the spring to their 
settlement of New Plymouth, attended by a mere handful 
of followers; entered into a solemn league of peace and 
amity; sold them a portion of the soil, and promised to 
secure for them the good-will of his savage allies. What- 
ever may be said of Indian perfidy, it is certain that the 
integrity and good faith of Massasoit have never been im- 
peached. He continued a firm and magnanimous friend 
of the white men; suffering them to extend their joosses- 



* While correcting the proof-sheets of this article, the author is 
informed that a celebrated English poet has nearly finished alieroic 
poem oil the story of PUiUp of Pokanoket. 



•286 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRYING. 

sions^ and to strengthen themselves in the land; and be- 
traymg no jealousy of their increasing power and prosper- 
ity. Shortly before his death, he came once more to Ne^v- 
Plymouth, with his son Alexander, for the purpose of 
xenewing the covenant of peace, and securing it to his pos- 
terity. 

At this conference he endeavored to protect the religion 
of his forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the mis- 
sionaries; and stipulated that no further attempt should be 
made to draw off his people from their ancient faith; but, 
finding the English obstinately opposed to any such condi- 
tion, he mildly relinquished the demand. Almost the last 
act of his life was to bring his two sons, Alexander and 
Philip (as they had been named by the English) to the resi- 
dence of a principal settler, recommending mutual kind- 
ness and confidence; and entreating that the same love and 
amity which had existed between the white men and him- 
self, might be continued afterward with his children. The 
good old Sachem died in peace, and was happily gathered 
to his fathers before sorrow came upon his tribe; his chil- 
dren remained behind to experience the ingratitude of 
white men. 

His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of a 
quick and impetuous temper, and proudly tenacious of his 
hereditary rights and dignity. The intrusive policy and 
dictatorial conduct of the strangers excited his indignation; 
and he beheld with uneasiness their exterminating wars 
with the neighboring tribes. He was doomed soon to incur 
their hostility, being accused of plotting with the Narrha- 
gansets to rise against the English and drive them from the 
land. It is impossible to say whether this accusation was 
warranted by facts, or was grounded on mere suspicions. 
It is evident, however, by the violent and overbearing meas- 
ures of the settlers, that they had by this time begun to feel 
conscious of the rapid increase of their power, and to grow 
harsh and inconsiderate in their treatment of the natives. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYON, GENT. 2S\ 

They dispatched an armed force to seize upon Alexander, 
and to bring him before their court. He was traced to his 
woodland haunts, and surprised at a hunting-house, where 
he was reposing with a band of his followers, unarmed, 
after the toils of the chase. The suddenness of his arrest, 
and the outrage offered to his sovereign dignity, so preyed 
upon the irascible feelings of this proud savage, as to throw 
him into a raging fever; he was permitted to return home 
on condition of sending his son as a pledge for his reap- 
pearance; but the blow he had received was fatal, and be- 
fore he reached his home he fell a victim to the agonies of 
a wounded spirit. 

The successor of Alexander was Metamocet, or King 
Philip, as he was called by the settlers, on account of his 
loft}" spirit and ambitious temper. These, together with 
his well-known energy and enterprise, had rendered him 
an object of great jealousy and apprehension, and he was 
accused of having always cherished a secret and imj^lacable 
hostility toward the whites. Such may very probably, and 
very naturally, have been the case. He considered them 
as originally but mere intruders into the country, who had 
presumed upon indulgence, and were extending an influ- 
ence baneful to savage life. He saw the whole race of his 
countrymen melting before them from the face of the 
earth; their territories slip23ing from their hands, and their 
tribes becoming feeble, scattered, and dependent. It may 
be said that the soil was originally purchased by the set- 
tlers;, but who does not know the nature of Indian j)ur- 
chases, in the early periods of colonization? The Europeans 
always made thrifty bargains, through their superior adroit- 
ness in traffic; and they gained vast accessions of territory, 
by easily provoked hostilities. An uncultivated savage is 
never a nice inquirer into the refinements of law, by which 
an injury may be gradually and legally inflicted. Leading 
facts are all by which he judges; and it was enough for 
Philip to know, that before the intrusion of the EurojDeans 



288 WOEKS OF WASIIIInGTOX IKYIJS^G. 



nl 



liis countrymen were lords of tlie soil, and that now 
were becoming vagabonds in tlie land of their fathers. 

But whatever may have been his feelings of general hos- 
tility., and his particular indignation at the treatment of 
his brother, he suppressed them for the present; renewed 
the contract with the settlers; and resided peaceably for 
many years at Pokanoket, or as it was called by the En- 
glish, Mount Hope,* the ancient seat of dominion of his 
tribe. Sus|)icions, however, Vv^hich were at first but vague 
and indefinite, began to acquire form and substance; and 
he was at length charged with attempting to instigate the 
various eastern tribes to rise at once, and, by a simultan- 
eous effort, to throw off the yoke of their oppressors It is 
difficult at this distant period to assign the proper credit due 
to these early accusations against the Indians. There ^^as a 
proneness to suspicion, and an aptness to acts of violence 
on the 23art of the whites, that gave weight and importance 
to every idle tale. Informers abounded, where tale-bear- 
ing met with countenance and revfard; and the sword was 
readily unsheathed, when its success was certain, and it 
carved out empire. 

The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the 
accusation of one Sausaman, a renegade Indian, whose nat- 
ural cunning had been quickenerl by a jDartial education 
which he had received among the settlers. He changed his 
faith and his allegiance two or three times with a facility 
that evinced the looseness of his principles. He had acted 
for some time as Philip^s confidential secretary and coun- 
selor, and had enjoyed his bounty and i^rotection. Find- 
ing, however, that the clouds of adversity were gathering 
round his patron, he abandoned his service and went over 
to the whites; and, in order to gain their favor, charged 
his former benefactor with j)lotting against their safety. 
A rigorous investigation took place. Philip and several of 

* Now Bristol, Khode IslaDd. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 2^9 

his subjects submitted to be examined, but notliing was 
proved against them. The settlers, however, had now 
gone too far to retract; they had previously determined that 
Philip was a dangerous neighbor; they had pubh'cly evinced 
their distrust, and had done enough to insure his hostility: 
according, therefore, to the usual mode of reasoning in 
these cases, his destruction had become necessary to their 
security. Sausaman, the treacherous informer, was shortly 
after found dead in a pond, having fallen a victim to the 
vengeance of his tribe. Three Indians, one of whom was 
a friend and coimselor of Philip, were apprehended and 
tried, and, on the testimony of one very questionable wit- 
ness, were condemned and executed as murderers. 

This treatment of his subjects and ignominious punish- 
ment of his friend, outraged the pride and exasperated the 
passions of Philip. The bolt which had fallen thus at his 
very feet awakened him to the gathering storm, and he de- 
termined to trust himself no longer in the power of the 
white men. The fate of his insulted and broken-hearted 
brother still rankled in his mind; and he had a further 
warning in the tragical story of Miantonimo, a great 
sachem of the Narrhagansets, who, after manfully facing 
his accusers before a tribunal of the colonists, exculpating 
himself from a charge of conspiracy, and receiving assur- 
ances of amity, had been perfidiously' dispatched at their 
instigation. Philip, therefore, gathered his fighting men 
about him; persuaded all strangers that he could to join his 
cause; sent the women and children to the Narrhagansets 
for safety; and wherever he appeared, was continually sur- 
rounded by armed warriors. 

When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and 
irritation, the least spark was sufficient to set them in a 
flame. The Indians, having weapons in their hands, grew 
mischievous, and committed various petty depredations. 
In one of their maraudings, a warrior was fired upon and 
killed by a settler. This was the signal for open hostilities; 

10 



290 WORKS OF WASHINGTOIST IRVING. 

and tlie Indians pressed to revenge the death of their com- 
rade, and the alarm of war resounded through the Plymouth 
colony. 

In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy 
times, we meet with many indications of the diseased state 
of the public mind. The gloom of religious abstraction, 
and the wildness of their situation, among trackless forests 
and savage tribes, had disposed the colonists to superstitious 
fancies, and had filled their imaginations with the frightful 
chimeras of witchcraft and spectrology. They were much 
given also to a belief in omens. The troubles with Philip 
and his Indians were preceded, we are told, by a variety of 
those awful warnings which forerun great and public 
calamities. The perfect arm of an Indian bow appeared 
in the air at New-Plymouth, which was looked upon by the 
inhabitants as a " prodigious apparition. ^^ At Hadley, 
Northampton, and other towns in their neighborhood, 
" was heard the report of a great piece of ordnance, with 
the shaking of the earth and a considerable echo.^^ * 
Others were alarmed on a still, sunshiny morning, by the 
discharge of guns and muskets; bullets seemed to whistle 
past them, and the noise of drums resounded in the air, 
seeming to pass away to the westward; others fancied that 
they heard the galloping of horses over their heads; and 
certain monstrous births which took place about the time, 
filled the superstitious in some towns with doleful forebod- 
ings. Many of these portentous sights and sounds may be 
ascribed to natural phenomena; to the northern lights which 
occur vividly in those latitudes; the meteors which explode 
in the air; the casual rushing of a blast through the top 
branches of the forest; the crash of falling trees or disrujot- 
ed rocks; and to those other uncouth sounds and echoes, 
which will sometimes strike the ear so strangely amidst the 
profound stillness of woodland solitudes. These may have 

* The Eev. Increase Mather's History. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 291 

startled some melancholy imaginations, may have been ex- 
aggerated by the love for the marvelous, and listened to 
with that avidity with which we devour whatever is fearful 
and mysterious. The universal currency of these supersti- 
tious fancies, and the grave record made of them by one of 
the learned men of the day, are strongly characteristic of 
the times. 

The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too 
often distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and 
savages. On the part of the whites, it was conducted with 
superior skill and success; but with a wastefulness of the 
blood, and a disregard of the natural rights of their an- 
tagonists : on the part of the Indians it was waged with the 
desperation of men fearless of death, and who had nothing 
to expect from peace, but humiliation, dependence and 
decay. 

The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy 
clergyman of the time; who dwells with horror and indig- 
nation on every hostile act of the Indians, however justifia- 
ble, whilst he mentions with applause the most sanguinary 
atrocities of the whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer 
and a traitor; without considering that he was a true-born 
prince, gallantly fighting at the head of his subjects to 
avenge the wrongs of his family; to retrieve the tottering 
power of his line; and to deliver his native land from the 
oppression of usurping strangers. 

The project of a wide and simultaneous revolt, if such 
had really been formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, 
and had it not been prematurely discovered, might have been 
overwhelming in its consequences. The war that actually 
broke out was but a war of detail; a mere succession of 
casual exploits and unconnected enterprises. Still it sets 
forth the military genius and daring prowess of Philip; 
and whenever, in the j^rejudiced and passionate narrations 
that have been given of it, we can arrive at simple facts, 
we find him displaying a vigorous mind; a fertility in ex- 



292 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

pedients; a contempt of suffering and hardship; and an 
unconquerable resolution^ that command our sympathy 
and applause. 

Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope^ he 
threw himself into the depths of those vast and trackless 
forests that skirted the settlements^ and were almost im- 
pervious to an3rthing but a wild beast or an Indian. Here 
he gathered together his forces^ like the storm accumulat- 
ing its stores of mischief in the bosom of the thunder- 
cloud, and would suddenly emerge at a time and place least 
expected, carrying havoc and dismay into the villages. 
There were now and then indications of these impending 
ravages that filled the minds of the colonists with awe and 
apprehension. The report of a distant gun would perhaps 
be heard from the solitary woodland, where there was 
known to be no white man; the cattle which had been wan- 
dering in the woods, would sometimes return home wound- 
ed; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about the 
skirts of the forests, and suddenly disappearing; as the 
lightning will sometimes be seen playing silently about the 
edge of the cloud that is brewing up the tempest. 

Though sometimes pursued, and even surrounded by 
the settlers, yet Philip as often escaped almost miraculously 
from their toils; and plunging into the wilderness, would 
be lost to all search or inquiry until he again emerged at 
some far distant quarter la3dng the country desolate. 
Among his strongholds were the great swamps or morasses, 
which extend in some parts of Isew England; composed of 
loose bogs of deep black mud; perplexed with thickets, 
brambles, rank weeds, the shattered and moldering trunks 
of fallen trees, overshadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The 
uncertain footing and the tangled mazes of these shaggy 
wilds, rendered them almost impracticable to the white 
man, though the Indian could thread their labyrinths with 
the agility of a deer. Into one of these, the great swamp 
of Pocasset Neck, was Philip once driven with a band of 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 203 

his followers. The English did. not dare to pursue him, 
fearing to venture into these dark and frightful recesses, 
where they might perish in fens and miry pits or be shot 
down by lurking foes. They therefore invested the en- 
trance to the neck, and began to build a fort, with the 
thought of starving out the foe; but Philip and his war- 
riors wafted themselves on a raft over an arm of the sea, in 
the dead of night, leaving the women and children behind; 
and escaped away to the westward, kindling the flames of 
war among the tribes of Massachusetts and the Nipmuck 
country, and threatening the colony of Connecticut. 

In this way Philip became a theme of universal appre- 
hension. The mystery in which he was enveloped exag- 
gerated his real terrors. He was an evil that walked in 
darkness; whose coming none could foresee, and against 
which none knew when to be on the alert. The whole 
country abounded with rumors and alarms. Philij) seemed 
almost possessed of ubiquity; for, in whatever part of the 
widely extended frontier an irruption from the forest took 
place, Philip was said to be its leader. Many superstitious 
notions also were circulated concerning him. He was said 
to deal in necromancy, and to be attended by an old In- 
dian witch or prophetess, whom he consulted, and who as- 
sisted him by her charms and incantations. This indeed 
was frequently the case with Indian chiefs; either through 
their own credulity, or to act upon that of their followers: 
and the influence of the prophet and the dreamer over In- 
dian superstition has been fully evinced in recent instances 
of savage warfare. 

At the time that Philip effected his esca23e from Pocas- 
set, his fortunes were in a desperate condition. His forces 
had been thinned by repeated flghts, and he had lost almost 
the whole of his resources. In this time of adversity he 
found a faithful friend in Canonchet, Chief Sachem of all 
the Narrhagansets. He was the son and heir of Mian- 
tonimo, the great Sachem, Avho, as already mentioned. 



294 WOKKS OF WASHIHGTOH IRVING. 

after an honorable acquittal of tlie charge of conspiracy, 
had been privately put to death at the perfidious instiga- 
tions of the settlers. " He was the heir/^ says the old 
chronicler, " of all his father^ s pride and insolence, as well 
as "of his malice toward the English ;^^ he certainly was 
the heir of his insults and injuries, and the legitimate 
avenger of his murder. Though he had forborne to take 
an active part in this hopeless war, yet he received Philip 
and his broken forces with open arms; and gave them the 
most generous countenance and support. This at once 
drew upon him the hostility of the English; and it was de- 
termined to strike a signal blow, that should invoke both 
the Sachems in one common ruin. A great force was, 
therefore, gathered together from Massachusetts, Ply- 
mouth, and Connecticut, and was sent into the Narrha- 
ganset comitry in the depth of winter, when the swamps, 
being frozen and leafless, could be traversed with compara- 
tive facility, and would no longer afford dark and im.pene- 
trable fastnesses to the Indians. 

Apprehensive of attack, Canonchet had conveyed the 
greater part of his stores, together with the old, the infirm, 
the women and children of his tribe, to a strong fortress; 
where he and Philip had likewise drawn up the flower of 
their forces. This fortress, deemed by the Indians im- 
pregnable, was situated upon a rising mound or kind of 
island, of five or six acres, in the midst of a swamp; it was 
constructed with a degree of judgment and skill vastly 
superior to what is usually displayed in Indian fortification, 
and indicative of the martial genius of these two chieftains. 

Guided by a renegado Indian, the English penetrated, 
through December snows, to this stronghold, and came 
upon the garrison by surprise. The fight was fierce and 
tumultuous. The assailants were repulsed in their first 
attack, and several of their bravest ofiicers were shot down 
in the act of storming the fortress sword in hand. The 
assault was renewed with greater success. A lodgment was 



SKETCH-BOOK OP GEOFFEEY CRAYON, GENT. 295 

effected. The Indians were driven from one post to 
another. They disputed their ground inch by incli, fight- 
ing with the fury of despair. Most of their veterans were 
cut to pieces; and after a long and bloody battle, Philip 
and Canonchet, with a handful of surviving warriors, re- 
treated from the fort, and took refuge in the thickets of 
the surrounding forest. 

The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the 
whole was soon in a blaze; many of the old men, the wom- 
en and the children, perished in the flames. This last out- 
rage overcame even the stoicism of the savage. The neigh- 
boring wood resounded with the yells of rage and despair, 
uttered by the fugitive warriors as they beheld the destruc- 
tion of their dwellings, and heard the agonizing cries of 
their wives and offspring. " The burning of the wig- 
wams, ^^ says a contemporary writer, " the shrieks and cries 
of the women and children, and the yelling of the warriors, 
exliibited a most horrible and affecting scene, so that it 
greatly moved some of the soldiers. ^^ The same writer 
cautiously adds, " they were in much doubt then, and after- 
ward seriously inquired, whether burning their enemies 
alive could be consistent with humanity, and the benevolent 
principles of the gospel. '^ 

The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy 
of particular mention : the last scene of his life is one of 
the noblest instances on record of Indian magnanimity. 

Broken down in his power and resources by this signal 
defeat, yet faithful to his ally and to the hapless cause 
which he had esjDOused, he rejected all overtures of peace, 
offered on condition of betraying Philip and his followers, 
and declared that ^' he would fight it out to the last man, 
rather than become a servant to the Enghsh.^^ His home 
being destroyed; his country harassed and laid waste by 
the incursions of the conquerors, he was obliged to wander 

* MS. of the Rev. W. Ruirdes. 



296 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

away to the banks of the Connecticut; where he formed a 
rallying point to the whole body of western Indians^ and 
laid waste several of the English settlements. 

Early in the spring, he departed on a hazardous expe- 
dition, with only thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Sea- 
conck, in the vicinity of Mount Hope, and to procure seed- 
corn to plant for the sustenance of his troops. This little 
band of adventurers had passed safely through the Pequod 
country, and were in the center of the Is arrhaganset, rest- 
ing at some wigwams near Pautucket River, when an alarm 
was given of an approaching enemy. Having but seven 
men by him at the time, Canonchet dispatched two of them 
to the tojD of a neighboring hill, to bring intelligence of 
the foe. 

Panic-struck by the appearance of a troop of English and 
Indians rapidly advancing, they fled in breathless terror 
past their chieftain, without stopping to inform him of the 
danger. Canonchet sent another scout, who did the same. 
He then sent two more, one of whom, hurrying back in 
confusion and affright, told him that the whole British 
army was at hand. Canonchet saw there was no choice 
but immediate flight. He attempted to escape round the 
hill, but was perceived and hotly |)ursued by the hostile 
Indians, and a few of the fleetest of the English. Finding 
the swiftest pursuer close upon his heels, he threw off, first 
his blanket, then his silver-laced coat and belt of peag, by 
which his enemies knew him to be Canonchet, and re- 
doubled the eagerness of pursuit. 

At length, in dashing through the river, his foot slipped 
upon a stone, and he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This 
accident so struck him with despair, that, as he afterward 
confessed, *^ his heart and his bowels turned within him, 
and he became like a rotten stick, void of strength.^' 

To such a degree was he unnerved, that, being seized by 
a Pequod Indian within a short distance of the river, he 
made no resistance, though a man of great vigor of body 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 297 

and boldness of heart. But on being made prisoner, the 
whole pride of his spirit arose within him; and from that 
moment, we find, in the anecdotes given by his enemies, 
nothing but repeated flashes of elevated and prince-like 
heroism. Being questioned by one of the English who first 
came up with him, and who had not attained his twenty- 
second year, the proud-hearted warrior, looking with lofty 
contempt upon this youthful countenance, rephed, " You 
are a child — you can not understand matters of war — let 
your brother or your chief come — him will I answer. ^^ 

Though repeated offers were made to him of his life, on 
condition of submitting with his nation to the English, yet 
he rejected them with disdain, and refused to send any pro- 
posals of the kind to the great body of his subjects; sayings 
that he knew none of them would comply. Being re- 
proached with his breach of faith toward the whites; his 
boast that he would not deliver ujd a Wampanoag, nor the 
parings of a WamiDanoag's nail; and his threat that he 
would burn the English alive in their houses; he disdained 
to justify himself, haughtily answering that others were as 
forward for the war as himself, '^ and he desired to hear no 
more thereof.''^ 

So noble and unshaken a spirit, so true a fidelity to his 
cause and his friend, might have touched the feelings of 
the generous and the brave; butCanonchet was an Indian; 
a being toward whom war had no courtesy, humanity Jio 
law, religion no compassion — he was condemned to die. 
The last words of his that are recorded, are worthy the 
greatness of his soul. When sentence of death was passed 
upon him, he observed, '^ that he liked it well, for he 
should die before his heart was soft, or he had spoken any- 
thing unworthy of himself.'^ His enemies gave him the 
death of a soldier, for he was shot at Stoningham, by three 
young Sachems of his own rank. 

The defeat of the Narrhaganset fortress, and the death 
of Canonchet, were fatal blows to the fortunes of King 



298 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOK IRVIKG. 

Philip. He made an ineifectual attempt to raise a head of 
war;, by stirring up the Mohawks to take arms; but though 
possessed of the native talents of a statesman, his arts were 
counteracted by the superior arts of his enlightened 
enemies, and the terror of their warlike skill began to sub- 
due the resolution of the neighboring tribes. The unfort- 
unate chieftain saw himself daily stripped of power, and his 
ranks rapidly thinning around him. Some were suborned 
by the whites; others fell victims to hunger and fatigue, 
and to the frequent attacks by which they were harassed. 
His stores were all captured; his chosen friends were swept 
away from before his eyes; his uncle was shot down by his 
side; his sister was carried into captivitj^; and in one of his 
narrow escapes he was compelled to leave his beloved wife 
and only son to the mercy of the enemy. '^ His ruin,^^ 
says the historian, " being thus gradually carried on, his 
misery was not prevented, but augmented thereby; being 
himself made acquainted with the sense and experimental 
feeling of the captivity of his children, loss of friends, 
slaughter of his subjects, bereavement of all family rela- 
tions, and being stripped of all outward comforts, before 
his own life should be taken away.^^ 

To fill up the measure of his misfortunes, his own fol- 
lowers began to plot against his life, that by sacrificing him 
they might purchase dishonorable safety. Through treach- 
ery, a number of his faithful adherents, the subjects of Weta- 
moe, an Indian princess of Pocasset, a near kinswoman 
and confederate of Philip, were betrayed into the hands of 
the enemy. "Wetamoe was among them at the time, and 
attempted to make her escape by crossing a neighboring 
river: either exhausted by swimming, or starved with cold 
and hunger, she was found dead and naked near the water- 
side. But persecution ceased not at the grave : even death, 
the refuge of the wretched, where the wicked commonly 
cease from troubling, was no protection to this outcast 
female, whose great crime was aiiectionate fidelity to her 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 299 

kiusman and her friend. Her corjjse was the object of 
unmanly and dastardly vengeance; the head was severed 
from the body and set upon a pole, and was thus exposed, 
at Taunton, to the view of her captive subjects. They 
immediately recognized the features of their unfortunate 
queen, and were so affected at this barbarous spectacle, 
that we are told they broke forth into the " most horrid 
and diabolical lamentations. " 

However Philip had borne up against the complicated 
miseries and misfortunes that surrounded him, the treach- 
ery of his followers seemed to wring his heart and reduced 
him to despondency. It is said that " he never rejoiced 
afterward, nor had success in any of his designs. ^^ The 
spring of hope was broken — the ardor of enterprise was ex- 
tinguished : he looked around, and all was danger and dark- 
ness; there was no eye to pity, nor any arm that could 
bring deliverance. With a scanty band of followers, who 
still remained true to his desperate fortunes, the unhapj^y 
Philip wandered back to the vicinity of Mount Hope, the 
ancient dwelling of his fathers. Here he lurked about, 
*' like a specter, among the scenes of former power and 
prosperity, now bereft of home, of family, and friends. 
There needs no better picture of his destitute and piteous 
situation, than that furnished by the homely pen of the 
chronicler, who is unwarily enlisting the feelings of the 
reader in favor of the hapless warrior whom he reviles. 
" Philip, ^^ he says, '' like a savage wild beast, having been 
hunted by the English forces through the woods above a 
hundred miles backv/ard and forward, at last was driven to 
his own den upon Mount Hope, where he had retired, with 
a few of his best friends, into a svv^amp, which proved but 
a prison to keejD him fast till the messengers of death came 
by divine permission to execute vengeance upon him.^' 

Even at this last refuge of desperation and despair, a 
sullen grandeur gathers round his memory. We picture 
liim to ourselves seated among his careworn followers. 



300 WOEKS OF WASHIKGTOI!^ IRVING. 



1 



brooding in silence over Ms blasted fortunes, and acquir- 
ing a savage sublimity from the wildness and dreariness of 
his lurking-place. Defeated, but not dismayed — crushed 
to the earth, but not humiliated— he seemed to grow more 
haughty beneath disaster and to experience a fierce satisfac- 
tion in draining the last dregs of bitterness. Little minds 
are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise 
above it. The very idea of submission awakened the fury 
of Philip, and he smote to death one of his followers, who 
proposed an expedient of peace. The brother of the vic- 
tim made his escape, and in revenge betrayed the retreat 
of his chieftain. A body of white men and Indians were 
immediately dispatched to the swamp where Philip lay 
crouched, glaring with fury and despair. Before he was 
aware of their approach, they had begun to surround him. 
In a little while he saw five of his trustiest followers laid 
dead at his feet; all resistance was vain; he rushed forth 
from his- covert, and made a headlong attempt at escape, 
but was shot through the heart by a renegado Indian of his 
own nation. 

Such is the scanty story of the brave, but unfortunate 
King Philip; persecuted while living, slandered and dis- 
honored when dead. If, however, we consider even the 
prejudiced anecdotes furnished us by his enemies, we may 
perceive in them traces of amiable and lofty character, 
sufficient to awaken sympathy for his fate and respect for 
his memory. We find, that amidst all the harassing cares 
and ferocious passions of constant warfare, he was alive to 
the softer feelings of connubial love and paternal tender- 
ness, and to the generous sentiment of friendship. The 
captivity of his ^' beloved wife and only son '' is mentioned 
with exultation, as causing him poignant misery : the death 
of any near friend is triumphantly recorded as a new blow 
on his sensibilities; but the treachery and desertion of many 
of his followers, in whose affections he had confided, is said 
to have desolated his heart, and to have bereaved him of all 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFUKY CRAYON, GENT. 301 

further comfort. He was a patriot, attached to his native 
soil — a prince true to his subjects, and indignant of tlieir 
wrongs — a soldier, daring in battle, firm in adversity, 
patient of fatigue, of hunger, of every variety of bodily 
suffering, and ready to perish in the cause he had espoused. 
Proud of heart, and with an untameable love of natural 
liberty, he preferred to enjoy it among the beasts of the 
forests, or in the dismal and famished recesses of swamps 
and morasses, rather than bow his haughty spirit to sub- 
mission, and live dependent and despised in the ease and 
luxury of the settlements. With heroic qualities and bold 
achievements that would have graced a civilized warrior, 
and have rendered him the theme of the poet and the his- 
torian, he lived a wanderer and a fugitive in his native 
land, and went down, like a lonely bark, foundering amid 
darkness and tempest — without a pitying eye to weep his 
fall, or a friendly hand to record his struggle. 



JOHN BULL. 

An old song, made by an aged old pate, 
Of an old worshipful gentleman who had a great estate, 
That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate. 
And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate. 

With aij old study fiU'd full of learned old books, 
"With an old reverend chaplain, you might know him by his looks, 
With an old butter3Miatch worn quite off the hooks, 
And an old kitchen that maintained half a dozen old cooks. 

Like an old courtier, etc. 

Old Song. 

There is no species of humor in which the English more 
excel, than that which consists in caricaturing and giving 
ludicrous appellations or nick-names. In this way they 
have whimsically designated, not merely individuals, but 
nations; and in their fondness for pushing a joke, they 



302 WORKS OF WASHIN^GTON IRVING. 

have not spared even themselves. One would think that, 
in personifying itself, a nation would be apt to picture 
something grand, heroic, and imposing; but it is char- 
acteristic of the peculiar humor of the English, and of their 
love for what is blunt, comic, and familiar, that they have 
embodied their national oddities in the figure of a sturdy, 
corpulent old fellov/, with a three-cornered hat, red waist- 
coat, leather breeches, and stout oaken cudgel. Thus they 
have taken a singular delight in exhibiting their most priv- 
ate foibles in a laughable point of view; and have been so 
successful in their delineation, that there is scarcely a be- 
ing in actual existence more absolutely present to the 
public mind, than that eccentric personage, John Bull. 

Perhaps the continual contemplation of the character 
thus drawn of them, has contributed to fix it ujoon the 
nation; and thus to give reality to what at first may have 
been painted in a great measure from the imagination. Men 
are apt to acquire peculiarities that are continually ascribed 
to them. The common orders of English seem wonderfully 
cajDtivated with the heau ideal which they have formed of 
John Bull, and endeavored to act u|) to the broad carica- 
ture that is perpetually before their eyes. Unluckily, they 
sometimes make their boasted Bull-ism an apology for their 
prejudice or grossness; and this I have especially noticed 
among those truly home-bred and genuine sons of the soil 
who have never migrated beyond the sound of Bow Bells. 
If one of these should be a little uncouth in speech, and 
apt to utter impertinent truths, he confesses that he is a 
real John Bull, and always speaks his mind. If he now 
and then flies into an unreasonable burst of passion about 
trifles, he observes that John Bull is a choleric old blade, 
but then his passion is over in a moment, and he bears no 
malice. If he betrays a coarseness of taste, and an insen- 
sibility to foreign refinement, he thanks Heaven for his 
ignorance — ^lie is a plain John Bull, and has no relish for 
frippery and knickknacks. His very proneness to be gidled 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOiq-, GENT. 303 

by strangers^ and to jmy extravagantly for absurdities, is 
excused under the plea of munificence — for John is always 
more generous than wise. 

Thus, under the name of John Bull, he will contrive to 
argue every fault into a merit, and will frankly convict 
himself of being the honestest fellow in existence. 

However little, therefore, the character may have suited 
in the first instance, it has gradually adapted itself to the 
nation, or rather they have adapted themselves to each 
other; and a stranger who wishes to study English 
peculiarities, may gather much valuable information from 
the innumerable portraits of John Bull, as exhibited in the 
windows of the caricature-shops. Still, however, he is one 
of those fertile humorists, that are continually throwing 
out new portraits, and presenting different aspects from 
differerit points of view; and, often as he has been de- 
scribed, I can not resist the temjjtation to give a slight 
sketch of him, such as he has met my eye. 

John Bull, to all appearance, is a jolain downright mat- 
ter-of-fact fellow, with much less of poetry about him than 
rich prose. There is little of romance in his nature, but a 
vast deal of strong natural feeling. He excels in humor 
more than in wit; is jolly rather than gay; melancholy 
rather than morose; can easily be moved to a sudden tear, 
or surprised into a broad laugh; but he. loathes sentiment 
and has no turn for light pleasantry. He is a boon com- 
panion, if you allow him to have his humor, and to talk 
about himself; and he will stand by a friend in a quarrel, 
with life and purse, however soundly he may be cudgeled. 

In this last respect, to tell the truth, he has a proj^ensity 
to be somewhat too ready. He is a busy-minded person- 
age, who thinks not merely for himself and family, but for 
all the country round, and is most generally disposed to be 
everybody's champion. He is continually volunteering 
his services to settle his neighbors' affairs, and takes it in 
great dudgeon if they engage in any matter of consequence 



304 WOKKS OF WASHIKGTO]^ IRVING. 

without asking liis advice; tliougli lie seldom engages in 
any friendly office of the kind without finishing by getting 
into a squabble with all parties^ and then railing bitterly at 
their ingratitude. He unluckily took lessons in his youth 
in the noble science of defense^ and having accomplished 
himself in the use of his limbs and his weapons^ and be- 
come a perfect master at boxing and cudgel-play, he has 
had a troublesome life of it ever since. He can not hear of 
a quarrel between the most distant of his neighbors, but he 
begins incontinently to fumble with the head of his cudgel, 
and consider whether his interest or honor does not require 
that he should meddle in the broil. Indeed, he has ex- 
tended his relations of pride and policy so completely over 
the whole country, that no event can take place, without 
infringing some of his finely spun rights and dignities. 
Couched in his little domain, with these filaments stretch- 
ing forth in every direction, he is like some choleric, bottle- 
bellied old spider, who has woven his web over a whole 
chamber, so that a fly can not buzz, nor a breeze blow, 
without startling his repose, and causing him to sally forth 
wrathf ully from his den. 

Though really a good-hearted, good-tempered old fellow 
at bottom, yet he is singularly fond of being in the midst 
of contention. It is one of his peculiarities, however, that 
he only relishes the beginning of an affray; he always goes 
into a fight with alacrity, but comes out of it grumbling 
even when victorious; and though no one fights with more 
obstinacy to carry a contested point, yet when the battle is 
over and he comes to the reconciliation, he is so much 
taken up with the mere shaking of hands, that he is aj)t to 
let his antagonist pocket all that they have been quarrel- 
ing about. It is not, therefore, fighting that he ought so 
much to be on his guard against, as making friends. It is 
difficult to cudgel him out of a farthing; but put him in a 
good humor, and you may bargain him out of all the 
money in his pocket. He is like a stout ship, which will 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 305 

weather the roughest storm uninjured, but roll its masts 
overboard in the succeeding calm. 

He is a little fond of playing the magnifico abroatl; of 
pulling out a long purse ; flinging his money bravely about 
at boxing-matches, horse-races, cock-fights, and carrying a 
high head among '^ gentlemen of the fancy;" but immedi- 
ately after one of these fits of extravagance, he will be 
taken with violent qualms of economy; stop short at the 
most trivial expenditure; talk desperately of being ruined 
and brought upon the parish; and in such moods will not 
pay the smallest tradesman's bill without violent alterca- 
tion. He is, in fact, the most punctual and discontented 
paymaster in the world, drawing his coin out of his breeches 
pocket with infinite reluctance; paying to the uttermost 
farthing, but accompanying every guinea with a growl. 

With all his talk of economy, however, he is a bountiful 
provider, and a hospitable housekeejjer. His economy is 
of a whimsical kind, its chief object being to devise how he 
may afford to be extravagant; for he will begrudge himself 
a beef -steak and pint of port one day, that he may roast an 
ox whole, broach a hogshead of ale, and treat all liis neigh- 
bors on the next. 

His domestic establishment is enormously expensive : not 
so much from any great outward parade, as from the great 
consumption of solid beef and pudding; the vast number 
of followers he feeds and clothes; and his shigular disposi- 
tion to pay hugely for small services. He is a most kind 
and indulgent master, and, provided his servants humor 
his peculiarities, flatter his vanity a little now and then, ' 
and do not peculate grossly on him before his face, they 
may manage him to perfection. Everything that lives on 
him seems to thrive and grow fat. His house-servants are 
well paid, and pamjDered, and have little to do. His horses 
are sleek and lazy, and prance slowly before his state car- 
riage ; and his house-dogs sleep quietly about the door, and 
will hardly bark at a house-breaker. 



306 WORKS OF WASHINGTOK IRVIXG. 

His family mansion is an old castellated manor-house^ 
gray with age, and of a most venerable, though weather- 
beaten, appearance. It has been built upon no regular 
plan, but is a vast accumulation of parts, erected in various 
tastes and ages. The center bears evident traces of Saxon 
architecture, and is as solid as ponderous stone and old En- 
glish oak can make it. Like all the relics of that style, it 
is full of obscure passages, intricate mazes, and dusky 
chambers; and though these have been partially lighted up 
in modern days, yet there are many places where you must 
still grope in the dark. Additions have been made to the 
original edifice from time to time, and great alterations 
have taken place; towers and battlements have been erect- 
ed during wars and tumults; wings built in time of peace 
and out-houses, lodges, and offices, run up according to 
the whim or convenience of different generations, until it 
has become one of the most spacious, rambling tenements 
imaginable. An entire wing is taken up with the family 
chapel; a reverend pile, that must once have been exceed- 
ingly sumptuous, and, indeed, in spite of having been 
altered and simplified at various periods, has still a look of 
solemn religious pomp. Its walls within are storied with 
the monuments of John's ancestors; and it is snugly fitted 
up with soft cushions and well-lined chairs^ where such of 
his family as are inclined to church services, may doze com- 
fortably in the discharge of their duties. 

To keep up this chapel, has cost John much money; but 
he is stanch in his religion, and piqued in his zeal from 
the circumstance that many dissenting chapels have been 
erected in his vicinity, and several of his neighbors, with 
whom he has had quarrels, are strong Papists. 

To do the duties of the chapel, he maintains, at a large 
expense, a pious and portly family chaplain. He is a most 
learned and decorous personage, and a truly well-bred 
Christian, who always backs the old gentleman in his opin- 
ions^ winks discreetly at his little peccadilloes, rebukes the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 307 

children when refractory, and is of great use in exhorting 
the tenants to read their bibles, say their prayers, and, 
above all, to jDay their rents punctually, and without 
grumbling. 

The family apartments are in a very antiquated tasie, 
somewhat heavy, and often inconvenient, but full of the 
solemn magnificence of former times; fitted up with rich, 
though faded tapestry, unwieldy furniture, and loads of 
massy gorgeous old plate. The vast fire-places, amj^le 
kitchens, extensive cellars, and sumptuous banqueting halls 
— all speak of the^ roaring hospitality of days of yore, of 
which the modern festivity at the manor-house is but a 
shadow. There are, however, complete suites of rooms ap- 
parently deserted and time-worn; and towers and turrets 
that are tottering to decay; so that in high winds there is 
danger of their tumbling about the ears of the household. 

John has frequently been advised to have the old edifice 
thoroughly overhauled, and to have some of the useless 
parts pulled do^ai, and the others strengthened with their 
materials; but the old gentleman always grows testy on 
this subject. He swears the house is an excellent house — 
that it is tight and weather-proof, and not to be shaken by 
tempests — that it has stood for several hundred years, and 
therefore is not likely to tumble down now — that as to its 
being inconvenient, his family is accustomed to the incon- 
veniences, and would not be comfortable without them — 
that as to its unwieldy size and irregular construction, these 
result from its being the growth of centuries, and being 
improved by the wisdom of every generation — that an old 
family, like his, requires a large house to dwell in; new, 
upstart families may live hi modern cottages and snug 
boxes, but an old English family should inhabit an old En- 
glish manor-house. If you point out any part of the build- 
ing as superfluous, he insists that it is material to the 
strength or decoration of the rest, and the harmony of the 
whole; and swears that the parts are so built into each 



308 WOEKS OF WASHIKGTOK IRVING. 

other, that if you pull down one you run the risk of having 
the whole about your ears. 

The secret of the matter is, that John has a great dis- 
position to protect and patronize. He thinks it indis- 
pensable to the dignity of an ancient and honorable fam- 
ily, to be bounteous in its appointments, and to be eaten 
up by dependants; and so, partly from pride, and partly 
from kind-heartedness, he makes it a rule always to give 
shelter and maintenance to his superannuated servants. 

The consequence is, that, like many other venerable 
family establishments, his manor is encumbered by old re- 
tainers whom he can not run off, and an old style which he 
can not lay down. His mansion is like a great hospital of 
invalids, and, with all its magnitude, is not a whit too 
large for its inhabitants. Not a nook or corner but is of 
use in housing some useless personage. Groups of veteran 
beef -eaters, gouty pensioners, and retired heroes of the but- 
tery and the larder, are seen lolling about its walls, crawl- 
ing over its lawns, dozing mider its trees, or sunning them- 
selves upon the benches at its doors. Every office and out- 
house is garrisoned by these supernumeraries and their 
families; for they are amazingly prolific, and when they 
die off, are sure to leave John a legacy of hungry mouths 
to be provided for. A mattock can not be struck against 
the most moldering tumble-down tower, but out pops, from 
some cranny or loophole, the gray pate of some superan- 
nuated hanger-on, who has lived at John^s expense all his 
life, and makes the most grievous outcry, at their pulling 
down the roof from over the head of a worn-out servant of 
the family. This is an appeal that John's honest heart 
never can withstand; so that a man who has faithfully 
eaten his beef and pudding all his life, is sure to be reward- 
ed with a pipe and tankard in old days. 

A great part of his park, also, is turned into paddocks, 
where his broken-down chargers are turned loose to graze 
undisturbed for the remainder of their existence — a worthy 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 300 

example of grateful recollection, which if some of his neigh- 
bors were to imitate, would not be to their discredit. In- 
deed, it is one of his great pleasures to point out these old 
steeds to his visitors, to dwell on their good qualities, extol 
their past services, and boast, with some little vain-glory, 
of the j^erilous adventures and hardy exploits through which 
they have carried him. 

He is given, however, to indulge his veneration for fam- 
ily usages, and family incumbrances, to a whimsical extent.- 
His manor is infested by gangs of gypsies; yet he will not 
suffer them to be driven off, because they have mfested the 
place time out of mind, and been regular poachers upon 
every generation of the family. . He will scarcely permit a 
dry branch to be lopped from the great trees that surround 
the house, lest it should molest the rooks, that have bred 
there for centuries. Owls have taken possession of the 
dove-cote; but they are hereditary owls, and must not be 
disturbed. Swallows have nearly choked up every chim- 
ney with their nests; martins build in every frieze and 
cornice; crows flutter about the towers, and perch on every 
weather-cock; and old gray-headed rats may be seen in 
every quarter of the house, running in and out of their 
holes undauntedly in broad daylight. In short, John has 
such a reverence for everything that has been long in the 
family, that he will not hear even of abuses being reformed, 
because they are good old family abuses. 

All these whims and habits have concurred wofully to 
drain the old gentleman's purse; and as he prides himself 
on punctuality in money matters, and wishes to maintain 
his credit in the neighborhood, they have caused him great 
perplexity in meeting his engagements. This, too, has 
been increased by the altercations and heartburnings which 
are continually taking place in his family. His children 
have been brought up to different callings, and are of dif- 
ferent ways of thinking ; and as they have always been 
allowed to speak their minds freely, they do not fail to ex- 



310 WORKS OF WASHIIS^GTOI^ IRVII^G. 

ercise the privilege most clamorously in the present posture 
of his affairs. Some stand up for the honor of the race, 
and are clear that the old establishment should be kept ujd 
in all its state, whatever may be the cost; others, who are 
more prudent and considerate, entreat the old gentleman 
to retrench his expenses, and to put his whole system of 
housekeeping on a more moderate footing. He has, in- 
deed, at times, seemed inclined to listen to their opinions, 
but their wholesome advice has been completely defeated 
by the obstreperous conduct of one of his sons. This is a 
noisy rattle-pated fellow, of rather low habits, who neglects 
his business to frequent ale-houses — is the orator of village 
clubs, and a complete oracle among the poorest of his 
father^ s tenants. No sooner does he hear any of his broth- 
ers mention reform or retrenchment, than up he jumps, 
takes the words out of their mouths, and roars out for an 
overturn. When his tongue is once going, nothing can 
stop it. He rants about the room; hectors the old man 
about his spendthrift practices; ridicules his tastes and pur- 
suits; insists that he shall turn the old servants out of 
doors; give the broken-down horses to the hounds; send 
the fat chaplain packing and take a field-preacher in his 
place — ^nay, that the whole family mansion shall be leveled 
with the ground, and a plain one of brick and mortar built 
in its place. He rails at every social entertainment and 
family festivity, and skulks away growling to the ale-house 
whenever an equipage drives up to the door. Though con- 
stantly complaining of the emptiness of his purse, yet he 
scruples not to spend all his pocket-money in these tavern 
convocations, and even runs up scores for the liquor over 
which he preaches about his father's extravagance. 

It may readily be imagined how little such thwarting 
agrees with the old cavalier^ s fiery temperament. He has 
become so irritable, from repeated crossings, that the mere 
mention of retrenchment or reform is a signal for a brawl 
between him and the tavern oracle. As the latter is too 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CIlAYOiq", GEHT. 311 

sturdy and refractory for paternal discipline, having grown 
out of all fear of the cudgel, they have frequent scenes of 
wordy warfare, which at times runs so high, that John is 
fain to call in the aid of his son Tom, an officer who has 
served abroad, but is at present living at home, on half- 
pay. This last is sure to stand by the old gentleman, right 
or wrong; likes nothing so much as a racketing roystering 
life; and is ready, at a wink or nod, to out saber, and flour- 
ish it over the orator's head, if he dares to array himself 
against paternal authority. 

These family dissensions, as usual, have got abroad, and 
are rare food for scandal in Johns's neighborhood. People 
begin to look wise, and shake their heads, whenever his 
affairs are mentioned. They all " hope that matters are 
not so bad with him as represented; but when a man's own 
children begin to rail at his extravagance, things must be 
badly managed. They understand he is mortgaged over 
head and ears, and is continually dabbling with money- 
lenders. He is certainly an open-handed old gentleman, 
but they fear he has lived too fast; indeed, they never 
knew any good come of this fondness for hunting, racing, 
reveling, and prize-fighting. In short, Mr. BulFs estate 
is a very fine one, and has been in the family a long while; 
but for all that, they have known many finer estates come 
to the hammer.'' 

What is worst of all, is the effect which these pecuniary 
embarrassments and domestic feuds have had on the jDOor 
man himself. Instead of that jolly round corporation, 
and smug rosy face, which he used to present, he has of 
late become as shriveled and shrunk as a frostbitten apple. 
His scarlet gold-laced waistcoat, which bellied out so brave- 
ly in those prosperous days when he sailed before the wind, 
now hangs loosely about him like a mainsail in a calm. 
His leather breeches are all in folds and wrinkles; and ap- 
parently have much ado to hold up the boots that yawn on 
both sides of his once sturdy legs. 



312 WORKS OF WASHINGTON^ IRVING. 

Instead of strutting about^ as formerly;, with his three- 
cornered hat on one side; flourishing his cudgel, and bring- 
ing it down every moment with a hearty thump upon the 
ground; looking every one sturdily in the face, and troll- 
ing out a stave of a catch or a drinking song; he now goes 
about whistling thoughtfully to himself, with his head 
drooping down, his cudgel tucked under his arm, and his 
hands thrust to the bottom of his breeches pockets, which 
are evidently empty. 

Such is the plight of honest John Bull at present; yet 
for all this, the old fellow^ s spirit is as tall and as gallant 
as ever. If you drop the least expression of sympathy or 
concern, he takes fire in an instant; swears that he is the 
richest and stoutest fellow in the country; talks of laying 
out large sums to adorn his house or to buy another estate; 
and, with a valiant swagger and grasping of his cudgel, 
longs exceedingly to have another bout at quarterstaff. 

Though there may be something rather whimsical in all 
this, yet I confess I can not look upon Johns's situation, 
without strong feelings of interest. With all his odd 
humors and obstinate prejudices, he is a sterling-hearted 
old blade. He may not be so wonderfully fine a fellow as 
he thinks himself, but he is at least twice as good as his 
neighbors represent him. His virtues are all his own; all 
plain, homebred, and unaffected. His very faults smack 
of the raciness of his good qualities. His extravagance 
savors of his generosity; his quarrelsomeness, of his cour- 
age; his credulity, of his open faith; his vanity, of his 
pride; and his bluntness, of his sincerity. They are all 
the redundancies of a rich and liberal character. He is 
like his own oak; rough without, but sound and solid 
within; whose bark abounds with excrescences in propor- 
tion to the growth and grandeur of the timber; and whose 
branches make a fearful groaning and murmuring in the 
least storm, from their very magnitude and luxuriance. 
There is something, too, in the appearance of his old f am- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 313 

ily mansion, that is extremely poetical and picturesque; 
and, as long as it can be rendered comfortably habitable, I 
should almost tremble to see it meddled with during the 
present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of his ad- 
visers are no doubt good architects, that might be of serv- 
ice; but many, I fear, are mere levelers, who, when they 
had once got to work with their mattocks on the venerable 
edifice, would never stop until they had brought it to the 
ground, and perhaps buried themselves among the ruins. 
All that I wish, is, that John^s present troubles may teach 
him more prudence in future; that he may cease to distress 
his mind about other people'' s affairs; they he may give up 
the fruitless attempt to promote the good of his neighbors, 
and the peace and happiness of the world, by dint of the 
cudgel; that he may remain quietly at home; gradually get 
his house into repair; cultivate his rich estate according to 
his fancy; husband his income — if he thinks proper; bring 
his unruly children into order — if he can; renew the jovial 
scenes of ancient prosperity; and long enjoy, on his pater- 
nal lands, a green, an honorable, and a merry old age. 



THE PRIDE OF THE VILLA QE, 

Ma}' no wolf howle: no screech-owle stir 

A wing about thy sepulcher! 

No boisterous winds or stormes come hither, 

To starve or wither 
Thy soft sweet ^arth ! but, like a spring, 
Love keep it ever flourishing. 

Herrick. 

In the course of an excursion through one of the remote 
counties of England, I had struck into one of those cross- 
roads that lead through the more secluded parts of the 
country, and stopped one afternoon at a village, the situa- 
tion of which was beautifully rural and retired. There was 
an air of primitive simjDlicity about its inhabitants, not to 



314 WORKS OF WASHIN^GTON- IRVIl^G. 

be found in the village swhich lie on the great coacli-roads. 
I determined to pass tlie night there, and having taken an 
early dinner, strolled out to enjoy the neighboring scenery. 

My ramble, as is usually the case with travelers, soon led 
me to the church, which stood at a little distance from the 
village. Indeed, it was an object of some curiosity, its old 
tower being completely overrun with ivy, so that only here 
and there a jutting buttress, an angle of gray wall, or a 
fantastically carved ornament, peered through the verdant 
covering. It was a lovely evening. The early part of the 
day had been dark and showery, but in the afternoon it 
had cleared up; and though sullen clouds still hung over- 
head, yet there was a broad tract of golden sky in the west, 
from which the setting sun gleamed through the dripping 
leaves, and lit up all nature into a melancholy smile. It 
seemed like the parting hour of a good Christian, smiling 
on the sins and sorrows of the world, and giving, in the 
serenity of his decline, an assurance that he will rise again 
in glory. 

I had seated myself on a half -sunken tombstone, and was 
musing, as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted hour, 
on past scenes, and early friends — on those who were dis- 
tant, and those who were dead — and indulging in that kind 
of melancholy fancying which has in it something sweeter 
even than pleasure. Every now and then, the stroke of a 
bell from the neighboring tower fell on my ear; its tones 
were in unison with the scene, and instead of jarring, 
chimed in with my feelings; and it was some time before I 
recollected, that it must be tolling the knell of some new 
tenant of the tomb. 

Presently I saw a funeral train moving across the village 
green; it womid slowly along a lane; was lost, and re-ap- 
peared through the breaks of the hedges, until it passed the 
place where I was sitting. The pall was supported by 
young girls, dressed in white; and another, about the age 
of seventeen, walked before, bearing a chaplet of white 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CRAYON", GENT. 315 

flowers; a token that the deceased was a young and unmar- 
ried female. The corpse was followed by the parents. 
They were a venerable couple, of the better order of peas- 
antry. The father seemed to repress his feelings; but his 
fixed eye, contracted brow, and deeply furrowed face, 
showed the struggle that was passing within. His wife 
hung on his arm, and wept aloud with the convulsive bursts 
of a mother's sorrow. 

I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was 
placed in the center aisle, and the chaplet of white flowers, 
with a pair of white gloves, were hung over the seat which 
the deceased had occupied. 

Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of the funeral 
service : for who is so fortunate as never to have followed 
some one he has loved to the- tomb? but when performed 
over the remains of innccence and beauty, thus laid low in 
the bloom of existence- —what can be more affecting? At 
that simple, but most solemn consignment of the body to 
the grave—'' Earth to earth — ashes to ashes — dust to 
dust!'' the tears of the youthful companions of the deceased 
flowed unrestrained. The father still seemed to struggle 
with his feelings, and to comfort himself with the assur- 
ance, that the dead are blessed which die in the Lord; but 
the mother only thought of her child as a flower of the 
field, cut down and withered in the midst of its sweetness: 
she was like Rachel, " mourning over her children, and 
would not be comforted." 

On returning to the inn, I learned the whole story of the 
deceased. It was a simple one, and such as has often been 
told. She had been the beauty and pride of the village. 
Her father had once been an opulent farmer, but was re- 
duced in circumstances. This was an only child, and 
brought up entirely at home, in the simplicity of rural 
life. She had been the pupil of the village pastor, the 
favorite lamb of his little flock. The good man watched over 
her education with paternal care; it was limited, and suit- 



316 WORKS OF WASHIKGTON^ IRVIKG. 

able to the sphere in which she was to move; for he only 
sought to make her an ornament to her station in life, not 
to raise her above it. The tenderness and indulgence of 
her parents, and the exemption from all ordinary occupa- 
tions, had fostered a natural grace and. delicacy of char- 
acter that accorded with the fragile loveliness of her form. 
She appeared like some tender plant of the garden, bloom- 
ing accidentally amid the hardier natives of the fields. 

The superiority of her charms was felt and acknowledged 
by her companions, but without envy; for it was surpassed 
by the unassuming gentleness and winning kindness of her 
manners. It might be truly said of her — 

" This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever 
Ran on the greensward : nothing she does or seems. 
But smacks of something greater than herself; 
Too noble for this place." 

The village was one of those sequestered spots, which 
still retains some vestiges of old English customs. It had 
its rural festivals and holiday pastimes, and still kept up 
some faint observance of tlie once popular rites of May. 
These, indeed, had been promoted by its present pastor; 
who was a lover of old customs, and one of those simple 
Christians that think their mission fulfilled by promoting 
joy on earth and good will among mankind. Under his 
auspices the May-joole stood from year to year in the center 
of the village green; on May-day it was decorated with 
garlands and streamers; and a Queen or the Lady of the 
May was appointed, as in former times, to preside at the 
sports, and distribute the prizes and rewards. The pict- 
uresque situation of the village, and the fancifulness of its 
rustic fetes, would often attract the notice of casual visitors. 
Among these, on one May-day, was a young officer, whose 
regiment had been recently quartered in the neighborhood. 

He was charmed with the native taste that pervaded this 
village pageant; but, above all, with the dawning loveli- 
ness of the Queen of May. It was the village favorite, who 



"jKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOIT, GENT. 317 

was crowned with flowers, and blushing and smihng in all 
the beautiful confusion of girlish diffidence and delight. 
The artlessness of rural habits enabled him readily to make 
her acquaintance; he gradually won his way into her in- 
timacy; and paid his court to her in that unthinking way 
in which young officers are too apt to trifle with rustic sim- 
plicity. 

There was nothing in his advances to startle or alarm. 
He never even talked of love; but there are modes of mak- 
ing it, more eloquent than language, and which convey it 
subtilely and irresistibly to the heart. The beam of the 
eye, the tone of the voice, the thousand tendernesses which 
emanate from every word, and look, and action — these 
form the true eloquence of love, and can always be felt and 
understood, but never described. Can we wonder that they 
should readily win a heart, young, guileless, and suscepti- 
ble? As to her, she loved almost unconsciously; she 
scarcely inquired what was the growing passion that was 
absorbing every thought and feeling, or what were to be 
its consequences. She, indeed, looked not to the future. 
When present, his looks and words occupied her whole at- 
tention; when absent, she thought but of what had passed 
at their recent interview. She would wander with him 
through the green lanes and rural scenes of the vicinity. 
He taught her to see new beauties in nature; he talked in 
the language of polite and cultivated life, and breathed 
into her ear the witcheries of romance and poetry. 

Perhaps there could not have been a passion between the 
sexes, more pure than this innocent girFs. The gallant 
figure of her youthful admirer, and the splendor of his 
military attire, might at first have charmed her eye; but it 
was not these that had captivated her heart. Her attach- 
ment had something in it of idolatry; she looked up to him 
as to a being of a suj^erior order. She felt in his society the 
enthusiasm of a mind naturally delicate and poetical, and 
now first awakened to a keen perception of the beau- 



318 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVIKG. 

tiful and grand. Of the sordid distinctions of rank and 
fortune^ she thought nothing; it was the difference of in- 
tellect^ of demeanor^, of manners^ from those of the rustic 
society to which she had been accustomed, that elevated 
him in her opinion. She would listen to him with charmed 
ear and downcast look of mute delight, and her cheek would 
mantle with enthusiasm; or if ever she ventured a shy 
glance of timid admiration, it was as quickly withdrawn, 
and she would sigh and blush at the idea of her compara- 
tive unworthiness. 

Her lover was equally impassioned; but his passion was 
mingled with feelings of a coarser nature. He had begun 
the connection in levity; for he had often heard his brother 
officers boast of their village conquests, and thought some 
triumph of the kind necessary to his reputation as a man 
of spirit. But he was too -full of youthful fervor. His 
heart had not yet been rendered sufficiently cold and selfish 
by a wandering and a dissipated life : it caught fire from 
the very flame it sought to kindle; and before he was aware 
of the nature of his situation, he became really in love. 

What was he to do? There were the old obstacles which 
so incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His 
rank in life — the prejudices of titled connections — ^his de- 
pendence upon a proud and unyielding father — all forbade 
him to think of matrimony — but when he looked down 
upon this mnocent being, so tender and confiding, there 
was a purity in her manners, a blamelessness in her life, and 
a bewitching modesty in her looks, that awed down overy 
licentious feeling. In vain did he try to fortify himself, by 
a thousand heartless examples of men of fashion, and to 
chill the glow of generous sentiment, with that cold derisive 
levity with which he had heard them talk of female virtue; 
whenever he came into her presence, she was still sur- 
rounded by that mysterious, but impassive charm of virgin 
purity, in whose hallowed sphere no guilty thought can 
live. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 319 

The sudden arrival of orders for tlie regiment to repair 
to the Continent, completed the confusion of his mind, lie 
remained for a short time in a state of the most joainf ul 
irresolution; he hesitated to communicate the tidings, until 
the day for marching was at hand; when he gave her the 
intelligence in the course of an evening ramble. 

The idea of parting had never before occurred to her. It 
broke in at once upon her dream of felicity; she looked 
u23on it as a sudden and insurmountable evil_, and wejDt 
with the guileless simplicity of a child. He drew her to his 
bosom and kissed the tears from her soft cheek, nor did he 
meet with a re^Dulse,, for there are moments of mingled sor- 
row and tenderness, which hallow the caresses of affection. 
He was naturally impetuous, and the sight of beauty ap- 
parently yielding in his arms, the confidence of his power 
over her, and the dread of losing her forever, all conspired 
to overwhelm his better feelings — he ventured to propose 
that she should leave her home, and be the companion of 
his fortunes. 

He was quite a novice ^ in seduction, and blushed and 
faltered at his own baseness; but, so innocent of mind was 
his intended victim, that slie was at first at a loss to com- 
prehend his meaning — and why she should leave her native 
village, and the humble roof of her parents. When at last 
the nature of his proposals flashed u23on her jDure mind ^ the 
effect was withering. She did not weep — she did not break 
forth into reproaches — she said not a word — but she shrunk 
back aghast as from a viper, gave him a look of anguish 
that pierced to his very soul^ and clasping her hands in 
agony, fled, as if for refuge, to her father's cottage. 

The officer retired, confounded, humiliated, and rej^ent- 
ant. It is uncertain what might have been the result of 
the conflict of his feelings, had not his thoughts been 
diverted by the bustle of departure. New scenes, new 
pleasures, and new companions, soon dissij)ated his self- 
reproach, and stifled his tenderness. Yet, amidst the stir 



320 WORKS OF WASHIIS'GTON" IRVIKG. 

of camps^ the revelries of garrisons, the array of armies, 
and even the din of battles, his thoughts would sometimes 
steal back to the scenes of rural quiet and village simplicity 
— the white cottage — the footpath along the silver brook 
and np the hawthorn hedge, and the little village maid 
loitering about it, leaning on his arm and listening to him 
with eyes beaming with unconscious aifection. 

The shock which the poor girl had received, in the de- 
struction of all her ideal world, had indeed been cruel. 
Faintings and hysterics had at first shaken, her tender 
frame, and were succeeded by a settled and pining melan- 
choly. She had beheld from her window the march of the 
departing troops. She had seen her faithless lover borne 
off, as if in triumph, amidst the sound of drum and trum- 
pet, and the pom23 of arms. She strained a last aching 
gaze after him, as the morning sun glittered about his fig- 
ure, and his plume waved in the breeze: he passed away 
like a bright vision from her sight, and left her all in 
darkness. 

It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after- 
story. It was, like other tales of love, melancholy. She 
avoided society, and wandered out alone in the walks she 
had most frequented with her lover. She sought, hke the 
stricken deer, to weep in silence and loneliness, and brood 
over the barbed sorrow that rankled in her soul. Some- 
times she would be seen late of an evening sitting in the 
porch of the village church; and the milk-maids, return- 
ing from the fields, would now and then overhear her sing- 
ing some plaintive ditty in the hawthorn walk. She be- 
came fervent in her devotions at church; and as the old 
people saw her approach, so wasted away, yet with a hectic 
bloom, and that hallowed air which melancholy diffuses 
round the form, they would make way for her, as for some- 
thing spiritual, and, looking after her, would shake their 
heads in gloomy foreboding. 

She felt a conviction that she was hastening to the tomb. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 321 

but looked forward to it as a jjlace of rest. The silver cord 
that had bound her to existence was loosed, and there 
seemed to be no more pleasure under the sun. If ever her 
gentle bosom had entertained resentment against her lover, 
it was extinguished. She was incapable of angry passions, 
and in a moment of saddened tenderness she penned him a 
farewell letter. It was couched in the simplest language, 
but touching from its very simplicity. She told him that 
she was dying, and did not conceal from him that his con- 
duct was the cause. She even depicted the sufferings which 
she had experienced; but concluded with saying, that she 
could not die in peace, until she had sent him her forgive- 
ness and her blessing. 

By degrees her strength declined, and she could no 
longer leave the cottage. She could only totter to the win- 
dow, where, proj)ped up in her chair, it was her enjoyment 
to sit all day and look out upon the landscaj^e. Still she 
uttered no complaint, nor imparted to anyone the malady 
that was preying on her heart. She never even mentioned 
her lover^s name; but would lay her head on her mother^ s 
bosom and weep in silence. Her poor parents hung, in 
mute anxiety, over this fading blossom of their hopes, still 
flattering themselves that it might again revive to fresh- 
ness, and that the bright unearthly bloom which sometimes 
flushed her cheek, might be the promise of returning 
health. 

In this way she was seated between them one Sunday 
afternoon; her hands were clasped in theirs, the lattice was 
thrown open, and the soft air that stole in brought with it 
the fragrance of the clustering honej^suckle, which her own 
hands had trained round the window. 

Her father had just been reading a chapter in the Bible; 
it spoke of the vanity of worldly things, and the joys of 
Leaven; it seemed to have diffused comfort and serenity 
through her bosom. Her eye was fixed on the distant vil- 
lage church — the bell had tolled for the evening service— 



323 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING., 

tlie last villager was lagging into the porch— and everything 
had sunk into that hallowed stillness peculiar""to the day of 
rest. Her parents were gazing on her with yearning 
hearts. Sickness and sorrow^, which pass so roughly over 
some faces, ha.d given to hers the expression of a seraph^ s. 
A tear trembled in her soft blue eye. Was she thinking of 
her faithless lover? — or were her thoughts wandering to 
that distant church-yard, into whose bosom she might soon 
be gathered? 

Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard — a horseman gal-- 
loped to the cottage — he dismounted before the window— 
the poor girl gave a faint exclamation, and sunk back in 
her chair— it was her repentant lover! He rushed into the 
house, and flew to clasp her to his bosom; but her wasted 
form — ^her death-like countenance — so wan, yet so lovely in 
its desolation — smote him to the soul, and he threw him- 
self in an agony at her feet. She was too faint to rise — - 
she attempted to extend her trembling hand — her lips 
moved as if she spoke, but no word was articulated — she 
looked down ujDon him with a smile of unutterable tender- 
ness, and closed her eyes forever! 

Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village 
story. They are but scanty, and I am conscious have but: 
little novelty to recommend them. In the present rage 
also for strange incident and high-seasoned narrative, they 
may appear trite and insignificant, but they interested me 
strongly at the time; and, taken in connection with the 
affecting ceremony which I had just witnessed, left a deeper 
impression on my mind than many circumstances of a 
more striking nature. I have passed through the place 
since, and visjted the church again from a better motive 
than mere curiosity. It was a wintery evening; the trees; 
were stripped of their foliage; the church-yard looked naked 
and mournful, and the the wind rustled coldly through the 
grass. Evergreens, however, had been planted about the 
grave of the village favorite, and osiers were bent over it 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GKOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 323 

to keep the turf uninjured. The church door was open, 
and I stepped in. There hung the chaplet of flowers and 
the gloves, as on the day of the funeral : the flowers were 
withered, it is true, but care seemed to have been taken 
that no dust should soil their whiteness. I have seen many 
monuments, w^here art has exhausted its powers to awaken 
the sympathy of the spectator; but I have met with none 
that sjDoke more touchingly to my heart, than tliis simple, 
but delicate memento of departed innocence. 



THE ANGLER. 

This day dame Nature seem'd in love, 

The histy sap began to move, 

Fresh juice did stir th' embracing vines, 

And birds had drawn tlieir valentines. 

The jealous trout that low did lie, 

Rose at a w^ell- dissembled ^y. 

There stood my friend, with patient skill, 

Attending of his trembling ciuill. 

SlK II. WOTTON. 

It is said that many an unlucky urchin is induced to run 
away from his family, and betake himself to seafaring life, 
from reading the history of Robinson Crusoe; and I suspect 
that, in like manner, many of those worthy, gentlemen, 
who are given to haunt the sides of joastoral streams with 
angle-rods in hand, may trace the origin of their jDassion to 
the seductive pages of honest Izaak Walton. I recollect 
studymg his '' Complete Angler '^ several years since, in 
company with a knot of friends in America, and, moreover, 
that we were all completely bitten with the angling mania. 
It was early in the year; but as soon as the weather was 
auspicious, and that the spring began to melt into the verge 
of summer, we took rod in hand, and sallied into the coun- 
try, as stark mad as was ever Don Quixote from reading 
books of chivalry. 



324 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

One of our party had equaled the Don in the fulhiess of 
his equipments; being attired cap-a-pie for the enterprise. 
He wore a broad-skirted fustian coat perplexed with half a 
hundred pockets; a ^^air of stout shoes, and leathern 
gaiters; a basket slung on one side for fish; a patent rod; a: 
landing net, and a score of other inconyeniences only to be 
found in the true angler's armory. Thus harnessed for the 
field, he was as great a matter of stare and wonderment 
among the country folk, who had never seen a regular 
angler, as was the steel-clad hero of La Mancha among the- 
goatherds of the Sierra Mornea. 

Our first essay was along a mountain brook, among the 
highlands of the Hudson — a most unfortunate place for the 
execution of those piscatory tactics which had been invented 
along the velvet margins of quiet Enghsh rivulets. It was 
one of those wild streams that lavish, among our romantic- 
solitudes, unheeded beauties, enough to fill the sketch-book 
of a hunter of the picturesque. Sometimes it v/ould leap 
down rocky shelves, making small cascades, over which 
the trees threw their broad balancing sprays; and long 
nameless weeds hung in fringes from the impending banks, 
dripping with diamond drops. Sometimes it would brawl 
and fret along a ravine in the matted shade of a forest, fill~ 
ing it with murmurs; and after this termagant career,, 
would steal forth into open day with the most placid de^ 
mure face imaginable; as I have seen some pestilent shrew 
of a housewife, after filling her home with uproar and ii:- 
humor, come dimpling out of doors, swimming, and. 
courtesying and smiling upon all the world. 

How smoothly would this vagrant brook glide, at suclx 
times, through some bosom of green meadow land, amon^ 
the mountains; where the quiet was only interrupted by the 
occasional tinkling of a bell from the lazy cattle among the 
clover, or the sound of a wood-cutter's ax from the neigh- 
boring forest! 

Por my part, I was always a bungler at all kinds of sport 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 3:25 

that required either patience or adroitness, and had not 
angled above half an hour, before I had comj)letely '^ satis- 
fied the sentiment,'^ and convinced myself of the truth of 
Izaak Walton^s opinion, that angling is. something like 
poetry — a man must be born to it. I hooked myself 
instead of the fish; tangled my line in every tree; lost my 
bait; broke my rod; until I gave up the attempt in desj)air, 
and passed the day under the trees, reading old Izaak; 
satisfied that it was his fascinating vein of honest simplicity 
and rural feeling that had bewitched me, and not the pas- 
sion for angliiig. My compaiiions^ however, were more 
persevering in their delusion. I have them at this moment 
before my eyes, stealing along the border of the brook, 
where it lay open to the day, or was merely fringed by 
shrubs and bushes. I see the bittern rising with hollow 
scream, as they break in upon his rarely invaded haunt; 
the kingfisher watching them suspiciously from his dry 
tree that overhangs the deep black mill-pond, in the gorge 
of the hills; the tortoise letting himself slip sideways from 
off the stone or log on which he is sunning himself; and 
the panic-struck frog plumping in headlong as they ap- 
j)roach, and spreading an alarm throughout the watery 
world around. 

I recollect, also, that, after toiling and watching and 
creeping about for the greater part of a day, with scarcely 
any success, in spite of all our admirable apparatus, a lub- 
berly country urchin came down from the hills, with a rod 
made from a branch of a tree; a few yards of twine; and, 
as heaven shall help me ! I believe a crooked pin for a 
hook, baited with a vile earth-worm — and in half an hour 
caught more fish than we had nibbles throughout the day. 

But above all, I recollect the " good, honest, wholesome,, 
hungry '' repast, which we made under a beech- tree just 
by a spring of pure sweet water, that stole out of the side 
of a hill; and how, when it was over, one of the party read 
old Izaak Walton's scene with the milk-maid, while I lav 



326 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

on the grass and built castles in a bright pile of clouds, 
until I fell asleep. All this may appear like mere egotism; 
yet I can not refrain from uttering these recollections which 
are passing liiie-a strain of music over my mind, and have 
been called up by an agreeable scene which I witnessed not 
long since. 

In a morning^ s stroll along the banks of the Alun, a 
beautiful little stream which flows down from the Welsh 
hills and throws itself into the Dee, my attention was at- 
tracted to a group seated on the margin. On approaching, 
I found it to consist of a veteran angler and two rustic dis- 
ciples. The former was an old fellow with a wooden leg, 
with clothes very much, but very carefully patched, betoken- 
ing poverty, honestly cojne by, and decently maintained. 
His face bore the marks of former storms, but j)resent fair 
weather; its furrows had been worn into an habitual smile; 
his iron-gray locks hung about his ears, and he had alto- 
gether the good-humored air of a constitutional |)hilosopher, 
who was disposed to take the world as it went. One of his 
companions was a ragged wight, with the skulking look of 
an arrant poacher, and 1^11 warrant could find his way to 
any gentleman" s fish-]3ond in the neighborhood in the 
darkest night. The other was a tall, awkward, country 
lad, with a lounging gait, and apparently somewhat of a 
rustic beau. The old man was busied examining the maw 
of a trout which he had just killed, iio discover by its con- 
tents what insects were seasonable for bait; and was lectur- 
ing on the subject to his companions, who appeared to 
listen with infinite deference. I have a kind feeling toward 
all " brothers of the angle,"" ever since I read Izaak Wal- 
ton. They are men, he aflirnis, of a '^ mild, sweet, and 
peaceable spirit;"" and my esteem for them has been in- 
creased since I met with an old " Tretyse of fishing with 
the Angle,"" in which are set forth many of the maxims of 
their inoffensive fraternity. " Take goode hede,"" sayth 
this honest little tretyse, " that in going about your dis- 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 327 

portes ye open no man's gates but that ye shet them again.- 
Also ye shall not use this foresaid crafti disport for no 
covetoLisness to the increasing and sparing of your money 
only, but principally for your solace and to cause the helth 
of your body and specyally of your soule.*'* 

I thought that I could perceive in the veteran angler 
before me an exemplification of what I had read; and there 
was a cheerful contentedness in 'his looks, that quite drew 
me toward him. I could not but remark the gallant man- 
ner in which he stumped from one part of the brook to an- 
other; waving his rod in the air, to keep the line from 
dragging on the ground, or catching among the bushes; 
and the adroitness with which he would throw his fly to any 
particular place; sometimes skimming it lightly along a 
little rapid; sometimes casting it into one of those dark holes- 
made by a twisted root or overhanging bank, in which ther 
large trout are apt to lurk. In the meanwhile, he was 
giving instructions to his two disciples; showing them the 
manner in which they should handle their rods, fiz their 
flies, and play them along the surface of the stream. The 
scene brought to my mfnd the instructions of the sage 
Piscator to his scholar. The country around was of that 
pastoral kind which Walton is fond of describing. It was 
a part of the great plain of Cheshire, close by the beautiful 
vale of Gessford, and just where the inferior Welsh hills 
begin to swell up from among fresh-smelling meadows. 
The day, too, like that recorded in his work, was mild and 



* From this same treatise, it would appear that angling is a more 
industrious and devout employment than it is generally considered. 
" For -when ye purpose to go on your disportes in fishyDge, ye will 
not desyre greatlye many persons with you, which might let you of 
your game. And that ye may serve God devoutly in sayinge 
effectually your customable prayers. And thus doying, ye shall 
eschew and also avoyde many vices, as j^dleness, which is a prin- 
cipal! cause to induce man to many other vices, as it is right wel- 
known." 



328 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRYING. 

sunshiny; with now and then a soft dropping shower^ that 
sowed the whole earth with diamonds. 

I soon fell into conversation with the old angler, and was 
so much entertained, that, nnder pretext of receiving in- 
structions in his art, I kept company with him almost the 
whole day; wandering along the banks of the stream, and 
listening to his talk. He .was very communicative, having 
all the easy garrulity of cheerful old age; and I fancy was 
a little flattered by having an opportunity of displaying 
his piscatory lore; for who does not like now and then to 
play the sage? 

He had been much of a rambler in his day; and had 
passed some years of his youth in America, particularly in 
Savannah, where he had entered into trade, and had been 
ruined by the indiscretion of his partner. He had after- 
ward experienced many ups and downs in life, until he got 
into the navy, where his leg was carried away by a can- 
non-ball, at the battle of Camperdown. This was the only 
stroke of real good fortune he had ever experienced, for it 
got him a jDcnsion, which, together with some small pater- 
nal j)ro23erty, brought him in a revenue of nearly forty 
pounds. On this he retired to his native village, where he 
lived quietly and independently, and devoted the remainder 
of his life to the " noble art of angling. ^^ 

I found that he had read Izaak Walton attentively, and 
he seemed to have imbibed all his simple frankness and 
prevalent good-humor. Though he had been sorely 
buffeted about the world, he was satisfied that the world, in 
itself, was good and beautiful. Though he had been as 
roughly used in diiferent countries as a poor sheep that is 
fleeced by every hedge and thicket, yet he spoke of every 
nation with candor and kindness, appearing to look only 
on the good side of things; and above all, he was almost 
the only man 1 had ever met with, who had been an un- 
iortunate adventurer in America, and had honesty and 



SKETCn-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 32& 

magnanimity enough to take tlie fault to his own door, and 
not to curse the country. 

The lad that was receivmg his instructions I learned was 
the son and heir-apparent of a fat old widow, who kept 
the village inn, and of course a youth of some expectation, 
and much courted by the idle, gentleman-like personages 
of the j)lace. In taking him under his care, therefore, the 
old man had probably an eye to a jorivileged corner in the 
tap-room, and an occasional cup of cheerful ale free of ex- 
pense. 

There is certainly something in angling, if we could for- 
get, which anglers are apt to do, the cruelties and tortures 
inflicted on worms and insects, that tends to produce a 
gentleness of spirit, and a pure serenity of mind. As the 
English are methodical even in their recreations, and are the 
most scientific of sportsmen, it has been reduced among 
them to perfect rule and system. Indeed, it is an amuse- 
ment peculiarly adapted to the mild and cultivated scenery 
of England, where every roughness has been softened away 
from the landscape. It is delightful to saunter along those 
limpid streams which wander, like veins of silver, through 
the bosom of this beautiful country; leading one through 
a diversity of small home scenery; sometimes winding 
through ornamented grounds; sometimes brimming along 
through rich pasturage, where the fresh green is mingled 
with sweet-smelling flowers; sometimes venturing in sight 
of villages and hamlets; and then running capriciously 
away into shady retirements. The sweetness and serenity 
of nature, and the quiet watchfulness of the sport, gradual- 
ly bring on pleasant fits of musing; which are now and 
then agreeably interrupted by the song of a bird; the dis- 
tant whistle of the peasant; or perhaps the vagary of some 
fish, leaping out of the still water, and skimming transients 
ly about its glassy surface. " When I would beget con- 
tent,^' says Izaak Walton, "and increase confidence in the 
power and wisdom and providence of Almighty God, I will 



330 WORKS OP WASHIISrGTOK IRVIKG. 

walk the meadows by some gliding stream-, and tliere con- 
template the lilies that take no care^ and those very many 
other little living creatures that are not only created^ but 
ied (man knows not how)^ by the goodness of the God of 
nature, and therefore trust in Him/^ 

I can not forbear to give another quotation from one of 
those ancient champions of angling which breathes the 
same innocent and happy spirit: 

" Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink 
Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling-place: 
Where I may see my quill or cork down sink, 
With eager bite of Pike, or Bleak, or Dace, 
And on the world and my Creator think: 

While some men strive ill-gotten goods t' embrace ! 
And others spend their time in base excess 
Of wune, or worse, in w^ar or wantonness. 
Let them that wall, these pastimes still pursue, 
And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill. 
So I the fields and meadows green may view. 

And daily by fresh rivers walk at will 
Among the daisies and the violets blue, 
Eed hyacinth and yellow daffodil."* 

On parting with the old angler, I inquired after his place 
of abode, and happening to be in the neighborhood of the 
village a few evenings afterward, I had the curiosity to 
seek him out. I found him living in a small cottage, con- 
taining only one room, but a perfect curiosity in its method 
and arrangement. It was on the skirts of the village, on a 
green bank, a little back from the road, with a small gar- 
den in front, stocked with kitchen-herbs, and adorned with 
-a few flowers. The whole front of the cottage was overrun 
with a honeysuckle. On the top was a ship for a weather- 
cock. The interior was fitted up in a truly nautical style, 
his ideas of comfort and convenience having been acquired 
on the berth-deck of a man-of-war. A hammock was slung 
from the ceiling, which in the day-time was lashed up so 

* J. Davors. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 331 

as to take but little room. From the center of the cham- 
ber hung a model of a ship, of his own workmanship. Two 
or three chairs, a table, and a large sea-chest, formed the 
principal movables. About the wall were stuck up naval 
ballads, such as Admiral Hosier's Ghost, All in the Downs, 
and Tom Bowling, intermingled with j^ictures of sea-fights, 
among which the battle of Camperdown held a distin- 
guished place. The mantel-piece was decorated with sea- 
shells; over which hung a quadrant, flanked by two wood- 
cuts of most bitter-looking naval commanders. His 
implements for angling were carefully disposed on nails 
and hooks about the room. On a shelf was arranged liis 
library, containing a work on angling, much worn ; a Bible 
covered with canvas; an odd volume or two of voyages; a. 
nautical almanac; and a book of songs. 

His family consisted of a large black cat with one eye,, 
and a parrot which he had caught and tamed, and edu- 
cated himself, in the course of one of his voyages; and 
which uttered a variety of sea phrases, with the hoarse, 
rattling tone of a veteran boatswain. The establishment 
reminded me of that of the renowned Eobinson Crusoe; it 
was kept in neat order, everything being ^' stowed away '* 
with the regularity of a ship of war; and he informed mo 
that he " scoured the deck every morning, and swej^t it 
between meals. ^' 

I found him seated on a bench before the door, smoking 
his pipe in the soft evening sunshine. His cat was purring 
soberly on the threshold, and his parrot describing some 
strange evolutions in an iron ring, that swung in the cen- 
ter of his cage. He had been angling all day, and ga^ e me 
a history of his sport with as much minuteness as a general 
would talk over a campaign; being particularly animated 
in regulating the manner in which he had taken a large 
trout, which had completely tasked all his skill and wari- 
ness, and which he had sent as a trophy to mine hostess of 
the inn. 



332 WORKS OF WASHINGTOI^ IRVII^G. 

How comforting it is to see a cheerful and contented 
old age; and to behold a poor fellow^ like this, after being 
tempest-tossed through life, safely moored in a snug and 
quiet harbor in the evening of his days! His happiness, 
however, sprung from within himself, and was independ- 
-ent of external circumstances; for he had that inexhausti- 
ble good -nature, which is the most precious gift of Heaven; 
speading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and 
keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest 
weather. 

On inquiring further about him, I learned that he was a 
imiversal favorite in the village, and the oracle Of the tap- 
room; where he delighted the rustics with his songs, and, 
like Sinbad, astonished them with his stories of strange 
lands, and shij)wi'ecks, and sea-fights. He was much 
noticed, too, by gentlemen sportsmen of the neighborhood; 
had taught several of them the art of angling; and was a 
privileged visitor to their kitchens. The whole tenor of 
his life was quiet and inoffensive, being principally passed 
about the neighboring streams, when the weather and sea- 
son were favorable; and at other times he employed himself 
at home, preparing his fishing tackle for the next cam- 
paign, or manufacturing rods, nets and flies, for his patrons 
and pupils among the gentry. 

He was a regular attendant at church on Sundays, 
though he generally fell asleep during the sermon. He 
had made it his particular request that when he died he 
should be buried in a green sj)ot, which he could see from 
his seat in church, and which he had marked out ever since 
he was a boy, and had thought of when far from home on 
the raging sea, in danger of being food for the fishes — it 
was the spot where his father and mother had been buried. 

I have done, for I fear that my reader is growing weary; 
but I could not refrain from drawing the picture of tliis 
worthy '^brother of the angle ;^^ who has made me more 
than ever in love with the theory, though I fear I shall 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CRAYON, GENT. 333 

never be adroit in the j-jractice of bis art; and I will con- 
clude tbis rambling sketcb in tbe words of honest Izaak 
Walton, by craving the blessing of St. Peter's master upon 
my reader, " and wpon all that are true lovers of virtue; 
and dare trust in his jorovidence; and be quiet; and go a 
anghng." 



THU LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, 

(FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE DIEDRICH 
KNICKERBOCKER.) 

A pleasing land of drowsy liea(l it was, 
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye; 
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, 
Forever flushing round a summer sky. 

Castle of Lidolence. 

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent 
the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of 
the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the 
Tap23aan Zee, and where they always j^i'udently shortened 
sail, and implored the j^rotection of St. Nicholas when they 
crossed, there lies a small market town or rural jDort, 
which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more 
generally and j^roperly known by the name of Tarry Town. 
This name was given it, we are told, in former days, by 
the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the in- 
veterate i3ropensity of their husbands to linger about the 
village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do 
not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake 
of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, 
perhaps about three miles, there is a little valley, or rather 
lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest 
places in the whole world. A small brook glides through 
it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the 
occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker. 



334 WORKS OF WASHIIsrGTOK IRVING. 

is almost the only sound that oyer breaks in nj)on the uni- 
form tranquillity. 

I recollect that^ when a striplings my first exploit in 
squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that 
shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at 
noon-time^ when all nature is peculiarly quiet^ and was 
startled by the roar of my own gun^ as it broke the sabbath, 
stillness around, and was prolonged and reverberated by 
the angry echoes. If ^ver I should wish for a retreat 
whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, 
and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I 
know of none more promising than this little valley. 

From the listless repose of the place, and the pecuhar 
character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the 
original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been 
known by the name of Sleepy Hollow, and its rustic lads 
are called the Sleejoy Hollow Boys throughout all the 
neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems 
to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. 
Some say that the |)lace was bewitched by a high German' 
doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, 
vthat an old Indian chief, the proj)het or wizard of his tribe, 
held his powwows there before the country was discovered 
by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is the place still 
continues under the sway of some witcliing power, that 
holds a spell over the minds of the good j^eople, causing 
them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all 
kinds of marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances and 
visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music 
and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds 
with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; 
stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than 
in any other part of the country, and the night-mare, with 
her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of" 
her gambols. 

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GENT. 335 

region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the 
powers of the air, is the apjiarition of a figure on horseback 
without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a 
Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a 
annon-ball, in some nameless battle during the revolution- 
ary war, and who is ever and anon seen by the comitry 
folk, huri-ying along in the gloom of night, as if on the 
wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the 
valley, but exteiid at times to the adjacent roads, and espe- 
cially to the vicinity of a church that is at no great dis- 
tance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of 
those parts, w^ho have been careful in collecting and collat- 
ing the floating facts concerning this specter, allege, that 
the body of the troojDcr having been in the church-yard, the 
ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of 
Iiis head, and that the rushing siDced with which he some- 
times passes along the hollow, like a midnight blast, is 
Owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to 
the church-yard before daybreak. 

Such is the general 23urport of this legendary supersti- 
tion, which has furnished materials for many a wild story 
in that region of shadows; and the specter is known at all 
the country firesides, by the name of The Headless Horse- 
man of SleejDy Hollow. 

It is remarkable, that the visionary jiropensity I have 
mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the 
valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who re- 
sides there for a time. However wide awake they may have 
been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, 
in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, 
and begin to grow imaginative — to dream dreams, and see 
apparitions. 

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it 
is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there 
embosomed in the great State of New York, that popula- 
tion, manners, and customs remain fixed, while the great 



336 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOK IRVIiTG. 

torrent of migration and improvements, which is making 
such incessant changes in other parts of this restless conn- 
try, sweeps by them nnobserved. They are hke those little 
nooks of still water, which border a rapid stream, where 
we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly at anchor, 
or slowly revolving in their mimic harbor, undisturbed by 
the rush of the passing current. Though many years have 
elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, 
yet I question whether I should not still find the same trees 
and the same families vegetating in its sheltered bosom. 

In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period 
of American history, that is to say, some thirty 3- ears since, 
a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, who 
sojourned, or, as he expressed it, " tarried,^ ^ in Sleepy 
Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the 
vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut, a state which 
supplies the union with pioneers for the mind as well as for 
the forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier 
woodmen and country school-masters. The cognomen of 
Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but 
exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and 
legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that 
might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most 
loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at 
top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long- 
snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched 
upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. 
To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy 
day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one 
might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descend- 
ing upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a corn- 
field. 

His school-house was a low building of one large room, 
rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and 
partly patched with leaves of copy-books. It was most in- 
geniously secured at vacant hours, by a withe twisted in the 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOX, GENT. 337 

handle of the door, and stakes set against the window shut- 
ters; so that though a thief might get in with perfect ease, 
he would find some embarrassment in getting out; an idea, 
most probably borrowed by the architect, Yost Van 
Houten, from the mystery of an eel-pot. The school-house 
stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation, just at the 
foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a 
formidable birch-tree growing at one end of it. From 
hence the low murmur of his pupils^ voices, conning over 
their lessons, might be heard of a drowsy summer's day, 
like the hum of a beehive; interrupted now and then by 
the authoritative voice of a master, in the tone of menace 
or command; or, peradventure, by the aj^palling sound of 
the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery 
path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a conscientious 
man, that ever bore in mind the golden maxim, '"' spare 
the rod and spoil the child.'' Ichabod Crane's scholars 
certainly were not spoiled. 

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one 
of those cruel potentates of the school, who joy in the 
smart of their subjects; on the contrary, he administered 
justice with discrimination rather than severity; taking 
the burden off the backs of the weak, and laying it on those 
of the strong. Your mere puny stripling, that winced at 
the least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; 
but the claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting a 
double portion on some little, tough, wrong-headed, broad- 
skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled and grew 
dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All tliis he called 
'* doing his duty by their parents;" and he never inflicted 
a chastisement without folio whig it by the assurance, so 
consolatory to the smarting urchin, that ' ' he would re- 
member it and thank him for it the longest day he had to 
live." 

When school hours were over, he was even the com- 
panion and playmate of the larger boys; and on holiday 



338 WORKS OP WASHINGTON IRVIKG. 

afternoons would convoy some of the smaller ones homO;, 
who happened to have pretty sisters, or good housewives 
for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard. In- 
deed, it behoved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. 
The revenue arising from his school was small, and would 
have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily 
bread, for he was a huge feeder, and though lank, had the 
dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help out his main- 
tenance, he was, according to country custom in those 
parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers 
whose children he instructed. With these he lived succes- 
sively a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the neigh- 
borhood, with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton 
handkerchief. 

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of 
his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of 
schooling a grievous burden, and school-masters as mere 
drones, he had various ways of rendering himself both use- 
ful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers occasionally in 
the lighter labors of their farms; helped to make hay; 
mended the fences; took the horses to water; drove the 
cows from pasture; and cut wood for the winter fire. He 
laid aside, too, all the dominant dignity and absolute 
sway, with which he lorded it in his little empire, the. 
school, and became wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. 
He found favor in the eyes of the mothers by petting the 
children, particularly the youngest; and like the lion bold, 
which whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold, he 
would sit with a child on one knee, and rock a cradle with 
his foot for whole hours together. 

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing- 
master of the neighborhood, and picked up many bright 
shillings by instructing the young folks in psalmody. It 
was a matter of no little vanity to him on Sundays, to take 
his station in front of the church gallery, with a band of 
chosen singers; where, in his own mind, he completely 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 339 

carried away the palm from the jDarson. Certain it is, his 
voice resounded far above all the rest of the congregation, 
and there are j^eculiar quavers still to be heard in that 
church, and which may even be heard half a mile off, quite 
to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday 
morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from 
the nose of Ichabod Crane. Thus, by divers little make- 
shifts, in that ingenious way which is commonly denomi- 
nated " by hook and by crook, '^ the worthy pedagogue got 
on tolerably enough, and was thought, by all who under- 
stood nothing of the' labor of head-work, to have a wonder- 
ful easy life of it. 

The school-master is generally a man of some importance 
in the female circle of a rural neighborhood; being consid- 
ered a kind of idle gentleman-like personage, of vastly 
superior taste and accomplishments to the rough country 
swains, and, indeed, inferior in learning only to the loarson. 
His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir 
at the tea-table of a farm-house, and the addition of a 
supernumerary dish of cakes or sweetmeats, or, j)erad vent- 
ure, the parade of a silver tea-pot. Our man of letters^ 
therefore, was joeculiarly happy in the smiles of all the 
country damsels. How he would figure among them in 
the church-yard, between services on Sundays! gathering 
grapes for them from the wild vines that overrun the sur- 
rounding trees; reciting for their amusement all the epi- 
tajohs on the tombstones; or sauntering, vvdth a whole bevy 
of them, along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond; while 
the more bashful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, 
envying his superior elegance and address. 

From his half itinerant life, also, he was a kind of travel- 
ing gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from, 
house to house; so that his appearance was always greeted 
with satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the 
women as a man of great erudition, for he had read several 
books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton 



340 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRYING. 

Mather^ s " History of New England Witchcraft/^ in 
whicli, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed. 

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and 
simple credulity. His appetite for the marvelous, and his 
powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both 
had been increased by his residence in this spell-bound 
Tcgion. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his cajDa- 
cious swallow. It was often his delight, after his school 
was dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the 
xich bed of clover, bordering the little brook that whim- 
pered by his school-house, and there con over old Mather^ s 
direful tales, until the gathering dusk of evening made the 
printed page a mere mist befoi^ his eyes. Then, as he 
wended his way, by swamp and stream and awful woodland, 
to the farm-house where he hapj)ened to be quartered, every 
sound of nature, at that witching hour, fluttered his excit- 
ed imagination : the moan of the whij)-poor-will * from the 
hill-side; the boding cry of the tree-toad, that harbinger of 
storm; the dreary hooting of the screech-owl; or the sud- 
den rustling in the thicket, of birds frightened from their 
roost. The fire-flies, too, which sparkled most vividly in 
the darkest places, now and then startled him, as one of 
imcommon brightness would stream across his |)ath; and 
if, by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging 
his blundering flight against him, the poor varlet was ready 
to give up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with 
a witches token. His only resource on such occasions, 
either to drown thought, or drive away evil spirits, was to 
sing psalm tunes; and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, 
as they sat by their doors of an evening, were often filled 
with awe at hearing his nasal melody, " in linked sweetness 
long drawn out," floating from the distant hill, or along 
the dusky road. 

* The whip-poor-will is a bird which is only heard at night. It 
receives its name from its note, which is thought to resemble those 

words. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CKAYON, GENT. 341 

Another of Lis sources of fearful pleasure was, to pass 
long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat 
spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and 
S2)utteri]ig along the hearth, and listen to their marvelous 
tales of ghosts, and goblins, and haunted fields and haunt- 
ed brooks, and haunted bridges and haunted houses, and 
particularly of the headless horseman, or galloping Hessian 
of the Hollow, as they sometimes called liim. He would 
delight them equally by his anecdotes of Avitchcraft, and of 
the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in the 
air, which prevailed in the earlier times of Connecticut; 
and would frighten them wofuUy with sj^eculations upon 
comets and shooting-stars, and with the alarming fact that 
the world did absolutely turn round, and that they were 
half the time toj)sy-turvy ! 

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cud- 
dling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of 
a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of 
course, no sjoecter dared to show its face, it was dearly 
purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homeward. 
What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst 
the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what 
wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light stream- 
ing across the waste fields from some distant window ! How 
often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, 
which like a sheeted specter beset his veiy path ! How 
often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his 
own stej)s on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread 
to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some un- 
couth being tramping close behind him — and how often 
was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, 
liowhng among tlie trees, in the idea that it was the gallop- 
ing Hessian on one of his nightly scourings! 

All these, however were mere terrors of the night, phan- 
toms of the mmd, that walk in darkness: and though ho 
liad seen many specters in his time, and been more than 



342 WORKS OF WASHIIS^GTOK IRVING. 

once beset by Satan in divers shapes^ in liis lonely peram- 
bulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and 
he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the 
devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by 
a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than, 
ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together- 
and that was — a woman. 

Among the musical disciple&who assembled, one evening 
in each week, to receive his instructions in psalmody, was 
Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a sub- 
stantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh^ 
eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy- 
cheeked as one of her father^s peaches, and universally 
famed, not merely for her beauty, but her vast expecta- 
tions. She was withal a little of a coquette, as might be 
23erceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient 
and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. 
She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her 
great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam; 
the tempting stomacher of the olden time, and withal a pro- 
vokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and 
ankle in the country round. 

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the 
sex; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a 
morsel soon found favor in his eyes, more esjDecially after 
he had visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus 
Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, 
liberal -hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either 
his eyes or his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own- 
farm; but within these, everything was snug, hapj)y and 
well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his wealth, but 
not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty abund- 
ance, rather than the style in which he lived. His strong- 
hold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of 
those green, sheltered, fertile nooks, in which the Dutch 
farmers are so fond of nestling. A great elm-tree spread 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYOiq", GENT. 343 

its broad branches over it; at the foot of which bubbled up 
a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a Kttle well, 
fromed of a barrel; and then stole sparkling away through 
the grass, to a neighboring brook, that babbled along 
among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farm-house 
was a vast barn, that might have served for a church, 
every^ window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth 
with the treasures of the farm; the flail was busily resound- 
ing within it from mornhig to night; swallows and martins 
skimmed twittering about the eaves; and rows of pigeons, 
some wdtli one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, 
some with their heads under their wings, or buried in their 
bosoms, and others, swelling and cooing, and bowing about 
their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek 
unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and abun- 
dance of their pens, from whence sallied forth, now and 
then, troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the air. A state- 
ly squadron of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining 
pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; regiments of tur- 
keys were gobbling through the farm-yard, and guinea- 
fowls fretting about it like ill-tempered housewives, with 
their peevish, discontented cry. Before the barn-door 
strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a war- 
rior, and a fine gentleman ; clapping his burnished wings 
and crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart — some- 
times tearing up the earth with his feet, and then gener- 
•ously calling his ever-hungry family of wives and children 
to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered. 

The pedagogue^ s mouth watered, as he looked upon this 
sum2-)tuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his de- 
vouring mind^s eye, he pictured to himself every roasting 
pig running about, with a pudding in its belly, and an 
apple in its mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in 
a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; 
the geese were swimming in their own gravy; and the 
ducks pairing cozily in dishes, like snug married couples 



344 WORKS OF WASHINGTOl^ IRVIl^G. 

with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers 
he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon^ and juicy 
rehshing ham; not a turkey, but he belield daintily trussed 
up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a 
necklace of savory sausages; and even bright chanticleer 
himself lay sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with up- 
lifted claws, as if craving that quarter which his chivalrous 
spirit disdained to ask while living. 

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he 
rolled his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the 
rich fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, 
and the orchards burdened with ruddy fruit, which sur- 
rounded the warm tenement of Yan Tassel, his heart, 
yearned after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, 
and his imagination expanded with the idea, how they^ 
might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested 
in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the 
wilderness, l^ay, his busy fancy already realized his hopes, . 
and presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole . 
family of children mounted on the top of a wagon loaded 
with household trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling 
beneath; and he beheld himself bestriding a pacing mare,, 
with a colt at her heels, setting out for Kentucky, Ten- 
nessee — or the Lord knows where ! 

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart 
was com|)lete. It was one of those spacious farm-houses, f 
with high-ridged, but lowly sloping roofs, built in the style f 
handed down from the first Dutch settlers. The low pro- 
jecting eaves forming a 23iazza along the front, capable of 
being closed up in bad weather. Under this were hung 
flails, harness, various utensils of husbandry, and nets for 
fishing in the neighboring river. Benches were built along 
the sides for summer use; and a great spinning-wheel at 
one end, and a churn at the other, showed the various uses 
to which this important porch might be devoted. From 
this piazza the wonderful Ichabod entered the hall,* which 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON", GEKT. 345 

formed the center of the mansion, and the j^lace of usual 
residence. Here, rows of resplendent pewter, ranged on a 
long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood a huge 
bag of wool, ready to be sj^un; in another, a quantity of 
Imsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears of Indian corn, and 
-strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in gay festoons 
along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red peppers; and 
a door left ajar, gave him ,a peep into the best parlor, 
w^here the claw-footed chairs, and dark mahogany tables, 
shone like mirrors; andirons, with their accomjoanying 
shovel and tongs, glistened from their covert of as2:)aragus 
to2:>s; mock-oranges and conch shells decorated the mantel- 
piece; strings of various-colored birds^ eggs were suspended 
above it; a great ostrich egg was hung from the center of 
the room, and a corner cujDboard, knowingly left open, dis- 
played immense treasures of old silver and "vvell-mended 
china. 

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these 
regions of delight, the peace of his mind was at end, and 
his only study was how fco gain the affections of the peer- 
less daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, 
he had more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot 
of a knight-errant of yore, wdio seldom had anything but 
giants, enchanters, fiery dragons, and such like easily con- 
quered adversaries, to contend wdth; and had to make his 
^vay merely through gates of iron and brass, and walls of 
adamant to the castle-keep, where the lady of his heart was 
confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man w'ould 
carve his way to the center of a Christmas pie, and then 
the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. Icha- 
bod, on the contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a 
country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and 
caprices, which were forever j^resenting new difficulties and 
impediments, and he had to encounter a host of fearful ad- 
versaries of real fiesh and blood, the numerous rustic ad- 
mirers, who beset every portal to her heart; "keeping a 



346 WORKS OP WASHllTGTOK lEYlNG. 

Avatchful and angry eye upon each otlier^ but ready to fly 
out in the common cause against any new competitor. 

Among these^ the most formidable was a burly, roaring, 
roistering blade, of the name of Abraham, or according to 
the Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the 
country round, which rang with his feats of strength and, 
hardihood. He was broad-shouldered and double -jointed,, 
with short curly black hair, and a bluff, but not unpleas- 
ant countenance, having a mingled air . of fun and arro- 
gance. From his Herculean frame and great powers of 
limb, he had received the nickname of Brom Bon^es, by 
which he was universally known. He was famed for great 
knowledge and skill in horsemanship, being as dexterous 
on horseback as a Tartar. He was foremost at all races' 
and cock-fights, and with the ascendency which bodily 
strength always acquires in rustic life, was the umpire in 
all disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving his de- 
cisions with an air and tone that admitted of no gainsay or 
appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; 
had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and 
with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dasli 
of waggish good humor at bottom. He had three or four 
boon comjDanions of his own stamp, who regarded him as 
their model, and at the head of whom he scoured the coun- 
try, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles 
around. In cold weather, he was distinguished by a fur 
cap, surmounted v/ith a flaunting fox^s tail; and when the 
folks at a country gathering descried this well-known crest 
at a distance, whisking about among a squad of hard riders, 
they always stood by for a squall. Sometimes his crew 
would be heard dashing along |)ast the farm-houses at mid- 
night, with a whoo23 and halloo, like a trooj) of Don Cos- 
sacks, and the old dames, startled out of th^ir sleep, would 
listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had clattered by^ 
and then exclaim, " Ay, there goes Brom Bones and his 
gang!"^ The neighbors looked upon him with a mixture 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 3-47 

of awe, admiration, and good-will; and when any madcap 
prank, or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinity, always shook 
their heads, and warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom 
of it. 

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the 
blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, 
and though his amorous toyings were something like the 
gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it was whis- 
pered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. 
Certain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates 
to retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his 
amours; insomuch, that when his horse was seen tied to 
Yan TasseFs palings, on a Sunday night, a sure sign that 
his master was courting, or, as it is termed, '^ sparking,^' 
within, all other suitors passed by in' despair, and carried 
the war into other quarters. 

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane 
had to contend, and considering all things, a stouter man 
than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a 
wiser man would have despaired. He had, however, a 
happy mixture of pliability and perseverance in his nature; 
he was in form and spirit like a supjDle-jack — yielding, but 
tough; though he bent, he never broke; and though he 
bowed beneath the slightest pressure, yet, the moment it 
was away— jerk ! — he was as erect, and carried his head as 
high as ever. 

To have taken the field openly against his rival, would 
have been madness; for he was not a man to be thwarted 
in his amours, any more tnan that stormy lover, Achilles. 
Ichabod, therefore, made his advances in a quiet and 
gently msinuating manner. . Under cover of his character 
of singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farm- 
iiouse; not that he had anything to apprehend from the 
meddlesome interference of 2:)arents, which is so often A 
.stumbling-block in the path of lovers. Bait Van Tassel 
was an easy indulgent soul; he loved his daughter better 



348 WORKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVING. 

even than liis pipe^ and like a reasonable man, and an ex- 
cellent father, let her have her way in everything. His 
notable little ynfe, too, had enough to do to attend to her 
housekeeping and manage the poultry; for, as she sagely 
<3bserved, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be 
looked after, but girls can take care of themselves. Thus, 
while the busy dame bustled about the house, or plied her 
spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza, honest Bait would 
sit smoking his evening jDipe at the other, watcliing the 
achievements of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with 
a sword in each hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind 
on the pinnacle of the barn. In the meantime, Ichabod 
would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of the 
spring under the great aim, or sauntering along in the twi- 
light, that hour so fa=\^orable to the lover's eloquence. 

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and 
won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and 
admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, 
or door of access; while others have a thousand avenues, 
and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a 
great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater 
proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, 
for a man must battle for his fortress at every door and 
window. He that wins a thousand common hearts, is 
therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps un- 
disputed sway over the heart of a coquette, is indeed a hero. 
Certain it is, this was not the case with the redoubtable Brom 
Bones; and from the moment Ichabod Crane made his ad- 
vances, the interests of the former evidently declined: his 
horse was no longer seen tied at the palings on Sunday 
nights, and a deadly feud gradually arose between him and 
the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow. 

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, 
would fain have carried matters to open warfare, and settled 
their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode of those 
most concise and simple reasoiiers the knights errant of yore 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKEY CRAYOX, GENT. 349 

— by single combat; but Ichabod was too conscious of the 
superior might of his adversary to enter the hsts against 
him; he had overheard the boast of Bones that he would 
*' double the school-master up, and put him on a shelf;"" 
and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There 
was something extremely provoking in this obstinately 
pacific system; it left Brom no alternative but to draw upon 
the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition^ and to play 
off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became 
the object of whimsical persecution to Bones, and his gang- 
of rough riders. • They harried his hitherto peaceful 
domains; smoked out his singing-school, by stopping up 
the chimney; broke into the school-house at night, in s^^ite 
of its formidable fastenings of withe and window stakes,, 
and turned everything topsy-turvy; so that the poor school- 
master began to think all the witches in the country held 
their meetings there. But what was still more annoying,. 
Brom took all opportunities of turning him into ridicule in 
presence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he 
taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and intro- 
duced as a rival of Ichabod's, to instruct her in psalmody. 
In this way, matters went on for some time, without 
producing any material effect on the relative situations 
of the contending powers. On a fine autumnal af- 
ternoon, Ichabod, in a pensive mood, sat enthroned 
on the lofty stool from whence he usually watched 
all the concerns of his literary realm. In his hand he 
swayed a ferule, that scepter of despotic power; the birch 
of justice reposed on three nails, behind the throne, a con- 
stant terror to evil-doers; while on the desk before him 
might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited 
weapons, detected upon the persons of idle urchins; such 
as half-munched apples, pop-guns, whirligigs, fly-cages,, 
and whole legions of rampant little paper game-cocks. 
Apparently there had been some appalling act of justice 
recently inflicted, for his scholai-s were all busily intent 



350 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

upon their books, or slyly whispering behind them with 
one eye kept upon the master; and a kind of buzzing still- 
ness reigned throughout the school-room. It was suddenly 
interrupted by the appearance of a negro in tow-cloth 
jacket and trousers, a round crowned fragment of a hat, 
like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of a 
ragged, wild, half -broken colt, which he managed with a 
rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to the 
school-door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a 
merry-making, or '^ quilting-frolic,^^ to be held that even- 
ing at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and having delivered his 
message with that air of importance, and effort at fiuQ, 
language, which a negro is apt to display on petty embas- 
sies of the kind, he dashed over the brook, and was seen 
scampering away up the hollow, full of the importance and 
hurry of his mission. 

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school- 
room. The scholars were hurried through their lessons, 
without stopping at trifles; those who were nimble, skipped 
over half with impunity, and those who were tardy, had a 
smart application now and then in the rear, to quicken- 
their speed, or help them over a tall word. Books were 
ilung aside, without being put away on the shelves; ink- 
stands were overturned, benches thrown down, and the 
whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual- 
time; bursting forth like a legion of young imps, yelping 
and racketing about the green, in joy at their early eman- 
cipation. 

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half 
hour at his toilet, brushing and furbishing up his best, and 
indeed only, suit of rusty black, and arranging his locks by 
a bit of broken looking-glass, that hung up in the school- 
house. That he might make his appearance before his 
mistress in the true style of a cavalier, he borrowed a horse 
from the farmer with whom he was domiciliated, a choleric 
old Dutchman, of the nam.e of Hans Yan Ripper, and thus 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 351 

gallantly mounted, issued forth like a knight-errant in 
quest of adventures. But it is meet I should, in the true 
spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks 
and equipments of my hero and his steed. The animal he 
bestrode was a broken-down plow-horse, that had outlived 
almost everything but his viciousness. He was gaunt and 
shagged, with a ewe neck and a head hke a hammer; his 
rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burrs;- 
one eye had lost its j)upil, and was glaring and sjDectral,. 
but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. Still 
lie must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may 
judge from his name, which was Gunj^owder. He had, in 
fact, been a favorite steed of his master^ s, the choleric Van 
Ripper, who was a furious rider, and had infused, very 
2:)robably, some of his own spirit into the animal; for, old 
and broken-down as he looked, there was more of the lurk- 
ing devil in him than in any young filly in the country. 

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode 
with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to 
the pommel of the saddle; his sharjo elbows stuck out like 
grasshoppers' ; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his 
hand, like a scej^ter, and as the horse jogged on, the motion 
of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a j^air of wings. 
A small wool hat rested, on the toji of his nose, for so his 
scanty strip of forehead might be called, and the skirts of 
his black coat fluttered out almost to the horse's tail. Such 
was the appearance of Ichabod and his steed as they sham- 
bled out of the gate of Hans Van Ripper, and it was alto- 
gether such an apparition as is seldom to be met with in 
broad dayhght. 

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was 
clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden 
livery which we always associate with the idea of abund- 
ance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yel- 
low, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped 
by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and 



352 WOEKS OF WASHINGTON" IRVII^G. 

scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their 
appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel might 
be heard from the groves of beech a] id hickory-nuts, and 
the pensive vv^histle of the quail at intervals from the neigh- 
boring stubble field. 

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In 
tlie fullness of their revelry^ they fluttered^ chirping and 
frolicking, from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious 
from the very profusion and variety around them. There 
was the honest cockrobin, the favorite game of stripling- 
sportsmen, with its loud querulous note, and the twittering 
blackbirds flying in sable clouds; and the golden-winged 
wood23ecker, with his crimson crest, his broad black gorget, 
and splendid i^lumage; and the cedar-bird, with its red- 
ti23ped wings and yellow-tipped tail and its little montiero 
caj) of feathers; and the blue jay, that noisy coxcomb, in 
his gay light blue coat and white underclothes, screaming 
and chattering, nodding, and bobbing, and bowing, and pre- 
tending to be on good terms with every songster of the grove. 

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open 
to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with de- 
light over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he 
beheld vast store of apples, some hanging in oppressive 
O]oulence on the trees; some gathered into baskets and bar- 
rels for the market; others heaped ujd in rich piles for the 
cider-press. Further on he beheld great fields of Indian 
corn, with its golden ears j)eeping from their leafy coverts, 
and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty-pudding; 
and the yellow pumj)kins lying beneath them, turning uj) 
their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample |)ros- 
pects of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he 23assed 
the fragrant buckwheat fields breathing the odor of the bee- 
hive, and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over 
his mind of dainty slap-jacks, well -buttered, and garnished 
with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand 
>of Katrina Van Tassel. 



SKETCH-BOOK OV TrEOFFREY CRAYON", (lENT. 353 

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and 
*' sugared supj^ositions/ ^ he journeyed along the sides of a 
range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest 
scenes of the mighty Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled 
his broad disk down in the west. The wide l)osom of the 
Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that here 
and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged the 
blue shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber clouds 
floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. 
The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing gradually 
into a pure apple-green, and from that hito the deej) blue 
of the mid -heaven. A" slanting ray lingered on the woody 
crests of the precipices that overhung some j^arts of the 
river, giving greater "depth to the dark gray and purj^le of 
their rocky sides. A sloop was loitering in the distance, 
drop2)ing slowly down with the tide, her sail hanging use- 
lessly against the mast; and as the reflection of the sky 
gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if the vessel was 
suspended in the air. 

It w^as toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle 
of the Herr Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the 
pride and flower of the adjacent country. Old farmers, a 
s],^are leathern-faced race, in homesjDun coats and breeches, 
blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. 
Their brisk, withered little dames, in close crimped caps, 
long-waisted gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and 
23in~cushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the out- 
side. Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their mothers, 
excepting where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a 
white frock, gave symptoms of city innovations. The sons, 
in short square-skirted coats, with rows of stupendous 
brass buttons, and their hair generally queued in the fash- 
ion of the times, especially if they could procure an eel-skin 
for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout the country 
as a potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair. 

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having 
12 



354 WORKS OF WASHIHGTOK IRTIKG. 

come to the gatlieriug on his favorite steed Daredevil^ a 
creature, like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and 
which no one but himself could manage. He was, in fact, 
noted for preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of 
tricks which kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for 
he held a tractable well-broken horse as unworthy of a lad 
of spirit. 

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms 
that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he en- 
tered the state parlor of Van TasseFs mansion. Not those 
of the bevy of buxom lasses, with their luxurious display of 
red and white; but the ample charms of a genuine Dutch 
country tea-table, in the sumptuous time of autumn. 
Such heaped -up platters of cakes of various and almost 
indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch 
housewives ! There was the doughty dough-nut, the tender 
oly-koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes 
and short cakes, ginger cakes and ' honey cakes, "and the 
whole family of cakes. And then there were apple |)ies, 
and ipeach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham 
and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes of pre- 
served plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to 
mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with 
bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, 
pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the mother- 
ly tea-pot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst — 
Heaven bless the mark! I want breath and time tcr discuss 
this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on with 
my story. Happily, Tchabod Crane was not in so great a 
hurry as his historian, but did ample justice to every 
dainty. 

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated 
in proportion as liis skin was filled with good cheer, and 
whose spirits rose with eating, as some men^s do with 
drink. He could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round 
him as he eat, and chuckling with the possibility that he 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CllWON, (iENT. 355 

might one day be lord of all this scene of almost iniimagi- 
nable luxury and Splendor. Then, he thought, how soon 
heM turn his back upon the old school-house; snap his fin- 
gers in the face of Hans Van Eiper, and every other nig- 
gardly patron, and kick any itinerant pedagogue out of 
doors that should dare to call him comrade! 

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests 
with a face dilated with content and good -humor, round 
and jolly as the harvest moon. His hospitable attentions 
were brief, but expressive, being confined to a shake of the 
hand, a slap on the shoulder, a loud laugh, and a pressing 
invitation to " fall to, and helj) themselves.^' 

And now the sound of the music from the common 
room, or hall, summoned to the dance. The musician was 
an old gray-headed negro, who had been the itinerant 
orchestra of the neighborhood for more than half a century. 
His instrument was as old and battered as himself. The 
greater part of the time he scraped away on two or three 
strings, accompanying evei-y movement of the bow with a 
motion of the head; bowing almost to the ground, and 
stamping with his foot whenever a fresh couj^le were to 
start. 

Ichabod prided himseK upon his dancing as much as 
upon his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fiber about him 
was idle; and to have seen his loosely hung frame in full 
motion, and clattering about the room, you would have 
thought St. Vitus himself, that blessed j)atron of the dance, 
was figuring before you in j^erson. He was the admiration 
of all the negroes; who, having gathered, of all ages and 
sizes, from the farm and the neighborhood, stood forming 
a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and win- 
dow; gazing with delight at the scene; rolling their white 
eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to 
car. How could the fiogger of urchins be otherwise than 
animated and joyous? the lady of his heart was his partner 
in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply to all his 



356 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

amorous oglings; while Brom Bones^ sorely smitten with 
love and jealousy^ sat brooding by himself in one corner. 

When the dance was at an end Ichabod was attracted to 
a knot of the sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat 
smoking at one end of the piazza, gossiping over former 
times, and drawling out long stories about the war. 

This neighborhood, at the time of which I am speaking, 
was one of . those highly favored places which abound with 
chronicle and great men. The British and American line 
had run near it during the war; it had, therefore, been the 
scene of marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, 
and all kind of border chivalry. Just sufficient time had 
elapsed to enable each story-teller to dress up his tale with 
a little becoming fiction, and, in the indistinctness of his 
recollection, to make liimseK the hero of every exploit. 

There was the story of Doffue Martling, a large blue- 
bearded Dutchman, who had nearly taken a British frigate 
with an old iron nine-pounder from a mud breastwork, 
only that his gun burst at the sixth discharge. And there 
was an old gentleman who shall be nameless, being too rich 
a mynheer to be lightly mentioned, who, in the battle of 
White Plains, being an excellent master of defense, parried 
a musket-ball with a small sword, insomuch that he abso- 
lutely felt it whiz round the blade, and glance off at the 
hilt; in proof of which he was ready at any time to show' 
the sword, with the hilt a little bent. There were several 
more that had been equally great in the field, not one of 
whom but was persuaded that he had a considerable hand 
in bringing the war to a happy termination. 

But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and ap- 
paritions that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich 'in 
legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales and supersti- 
tions thrive best in these sheltered, long-settled retreats; 
bat are trampled under foot, by the shifting throng that 
forms the population of most of our country places. Be- 
sides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 357 

villages, for they have scarcely had time to finish their first 
nap, and turn themselves in their graves, before their sur- 
viving friends have traveled away from the neighborhood; 
so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, 
they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is per- 
hajjs the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except in 
our long-established Dutch communities. 

The immediate cause, however, of the prevalence of 
supernatural stories in these j^arts, was doubtless owing to 
the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in 
the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed 
forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the 
land. Several of the Sleepy Hollow peo23le were present 
at Van TasseFs, and, as usual, were doling out their wild 
and wonderful legends. Many dismal tales were told about 
fmieral trains, and mourning cries and wailings heard and 
seen about the great tree where the unfortunate Major 
Andre was taken, and which stood in the neighborhood. 
Some mention was made also of the woman in white, that 
haunted the dark glen at Eaven Rock, and was often heard 
to shriek on winter nights before a storm, having perished 
there in the snow. ■ The chief part of the stories, however, 
turned upon the favorite specter of Sleepy Hollow, the 
headless horseman, who had been heard several times of 
late, patroling the country; and it is said, tethered his 
horse nightly among the graves in the church-yard. 

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to 
have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands 
on a knoll, surrounded by locust-trees and lofty elms, from 
among which its decent, whitewashed walls shine modestly 
forth, like Christian purity, beaming through the shades 
of retirement. A gentle slope descends from it to a silver 
sheet of water, bordered by high trees, between which, 
peeps may be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson. To 
look upon its grass-grown yard, where the sunbeams seem 
to sleep so quietly, one would think that there at least the 



358 WORKS OF WASHIis^tJTOli IRVmG. 

dead might rest in peace. On one side of the church ex- 
tends a wide woody dell, along which raves a large hrook 
among broken rocks and trunks of fallen trees. Over a 
deep black part of the stream, not far from the church, 
was formerly thrown a wooden bridge; the road that led to 
it, and the bridge itself, were thickly shaded by overhang- 
ing trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the day-time; 
but occasioned a fearful darkness at night. Such was one 
of the favorite haunts of the headless horseman, and the 
place where he was most frequently encountered. The tale 
was told of old Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in 
ghosts, how he met the horseman returning from his foray 
nito Sleepy Hollow^ and was obliged to get up behind him; 
how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill and 
swamp, until they reached the bridge; when the horseman 
suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into 
the brook, and sprung away over the tree-tops with a clap 
of thunder. 

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvel- 
ous adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of -the gal- 
loping Hessian as an arrant jockey. He affirmed, that on 
returning one night from the neighboring village of Sing 
Sing, he had been overtaken by this mxidnight trooper; that 
he had offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and 
should have won it too, for Daredevil beat the goblin horse 
all hollow, but just as they came to the church bridge, the 
Hessian bolted, and vanished in a flash of fire. 

All these tales, tOld in that drowsy undertone with which 
men talk in the dark, the countenances of the listeners 
only now and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare 
of a pipe, sunk deep in the mind of Ichabod. He repaid 
them in kind with large extracts from his invaluable author. 
Cotton Mather, and added many marvelous events that 
had taken place in his native State of Connecticut, and 
fearful sights v/hich he had seen in his nightly walks about 
Sleepy Hollow. 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 359 

The revel now gradually broke up. Tho old farmers 
gathered together their families in their wagons, and were 
heard for some time rattling along the hollow roads, and 
over the distant hills. Some of the damsels mounted on 
pillions behind their favorite swains, and their light-hearted 
laughter, mingling with the clatter of hoofs, echoed along 
the silent woodlands, sounding fainter and fainter, until 
they gradually died away — and the late scene of noise and 
frolic was all silent and deserted. Ichabod only lingered 
behind, according to the custom of country lovers, to have 
a tete-a-tete with the heiress; fully convinced that he was 
now on the high-road to success. What passed at tliis inter- 
view I will not pretend to say, for, in fact, I do not know. 
Something, however, I fear me, must have gone wrong, 
for he certainly salHed forth, after no very great interval, 
with an air quite desolate and chapfallen. Oh, these wom- 
en! these women! Could that girl have been playing off 
any of her coquettish tricks? Was her encouragement of 
the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her con- 
quest of his rival? Heaven only knows, not I! Let it 
sufiQce to say, Ichabod stole forth with the air of one who 
had been sacking a hen-roost, rather than a fair lady's 
heart. Without looking to the right or left to notice the 
scene of rural Avealth, on which he had so often gloated, 
he went straight to the stable, and with several hearty cuffs, 
and kicks, roused his steed most uncourteously from the 
comfortable quarters in which he was soundly sleeping, 
dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and whole valleys 
of timothy and clover. 

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, 
heavy-hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travel home- 
ward, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above 
Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the 
afternoon. The hour was as dismal as himself. Far be- 
low him the Tappan Zee sj^read its dusky and indistinct 
waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a 



360 WORKS OF WASHIK"GTON IRVINa. 

sloop;, riding quietly at anchor under the land. In the dead 
hush of'- midnight he could even hear the barking of the 
watch-dog from the opposite shore of the Hudson^ but it 
was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his dis- 
tance from this faithful companion of man. Now and 
then^ too^ the long-drawn crowing of a cock^ accidentally 
awakened^ would sound far^ far off, from some farm-house 
away among the hills — ^but it was like a dreaming sound 
in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occa- 
sionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the 
guttural twang of a bull-frog from a neighboring marsh, 
as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his 
bed. 

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard 
in the afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollection. 
The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to 
sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid 
them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dis- 
mal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where 
many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In 
the center of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which 
towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neigh- 
borhood, and formed a kind of landmark. Its limbs were 
gnarled and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordi- 
nary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising 
again into the air. It was connected with the tragical 
story of the unfortunate Andre, who had been taken 
prisoner hard by; and was universally known by the name 
of Major Andrews tree. The common people regarded it 
with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly out of 
sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and 
partly from the tales of strange sights, and doleful lamen- 
tations, told concerning it. 

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree he began to 
whistle; he thought his whistle was answered; it was but a 
blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As he 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 3G1 

approached a little nearer he thought he saw something 
white, hanging in the midst of the tree; he paused, and 
ceased whistling; but on looking more narrowly perceived 
that it was a place where the tree had been scathed by 
lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he 
heard a groan — his teeth chattered, and his knees smote 
against the saddle; it was but the rubbing of one huge 
bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the 
breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay 
before him. 

About two hundred yards from the tree, a small brook 
crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly wooded 
glen, known by the name of Wiley's Swamp. A few rough 
logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. 
On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, 
a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild 
grape-vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass 
this bridge, was the severest trial. It was at this identical 
spot that the unfortunate Andre was captured, and under 
the covert of those chestnuts and vines were the sturdy 
yeomen concealed who surorised him. This has ever since 
been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feel- 
ings of a school-boy who has to pass it alone after dark. 

As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; 
he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse 
half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash 
briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, 
the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran 
broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears in- 
creased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, 
and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it wa^j all in 
vain ; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge 
to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles 
and alder-bushes. The school-master now bestowed both 
Avhip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, 
who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a 



362 WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

stand just by the bridge^ with a suddenness that had nearly 
sent his rider sprawhng over his head. Just at this mo- 
ment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the 
sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove^, 
on the margin of the brook^ he beheld something huge, 
misshapen^ black and towering. It stirred not, but seemed 
gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready 
to spring upon the traveler. 

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head 
with terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was 
now too late; and besides, what chance was there of escap- 
ing ghost or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon 
the wings of the wind? Summoning up, therefore, a show 
of courage, he demanded in stammering accents — " Yfho 
are you ?''^ He received no reply. He repeated his demand 
in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no answer. 
Once more he cudgeled the sides of the inflexible Gunpow- 
der, and shutting his eyes, broke forth with involuntary 
fervor into a psalm tune. Just then the shadowy object 
of alarm put itself in motion, and with a scramble and a 
bound, stood at once in the middle of the road. Though 
the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the un- 
known might now in some degree be ascertained. He ap- 
peared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted 
on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of 
molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the 
road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, 
who had now got over his fright and waywardness. 

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight 
companion, and bethought himself on the adyenture of 
Brom Bones with the galloping Hessian, now quickened his 
steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, how- 
ever, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled 
up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind — the other 
did the same. His heart began to sink within him; he en- 
deavored to resume his psalni tune, but his parched tongue 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFKKY CliAYON, GENT. oG3 

clove to the roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a 
stave. There was something m the moody and dogged 
silence of this pertinacious companion, that was mysterious 
and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On 
mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his 
fellow-traveler in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, 
and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck, on per- 
ceiving that he was headless! but his horror was still more 
increased, on observing that the head, which should have 
rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pom- 
mel of his saddle! His terror rose to desperation ; he rained 
a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping, by 
a sudden movement, to give his companion the slip— but 
the specter started full jump with him. Away, then, they 
dashed through thick and thin; stones flying and sparks 
flashing at every bound. Ichabod' s flimsy garments flut- 
tered in the air, as he stretched his long lank body away 
over his horse's head, in the eagerness of his flight. 

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleej)y 
Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a 
demon, instead of keeping up it, made an oi3posite turn, 
and plunged headlong down hill to the left. This road 
leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a 
quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in 
goblin story; and just beyond swells the green knoll on 
which stands the whitewashed church. 

As yet the panic Of the steed had given his unskillful 
rider an apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he 
had got half-way through the hollow, the girths of the sad- 
dle gave way, and he felt it slipping from under him. He 
seized it by the pommel, and endeavored to hold it Arm, 
but in vain; and had just time to save himself by clasping 
old Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle fell to the 
earth, and he heard it trampled under foot by his pursuer. 
For a moment the terror of Hans Van Kipper's wrath 
passed across his mind— for it was his Sunday saddle; but 



364 WORKS OF WASHIKGTOK IRVING. 

this was no time for petty fears; the goblin was hard on 
his haunches; and (unskillful rider that he was!) he had 
much ado to maintain his seat; sometimes slipping on one 
side^ sometimes on another^ and sometimes jolted on the 
high ridge of his liorse^s backbone^ with a violence that he 
verily feared would cleave him asunder. 

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes 
that the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflec- 
tion of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that 
he was not mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly 
glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place 
where Brom Bones' ghostly competitor had disappeared. 
** If I can but reach that bridge/' thought Ichabod, " I 
am safe. " Just then he heard the black steed panting and 
blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his 
hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old 
Gunpowder sprung upon the bridge: he thundered over the 
resounding planks; he gained the opposite side, and now 
Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should 
vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. 
Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in 
the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeav- 
ored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It en- 
countered his cranium with a tremendous crash — he was 
tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the 
black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirl- 
wind. 

The next morning the old horse was found without his 
saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping 
the grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his 
appearance at breakfast — dinner-hour came, but no Icha- 
bod. The boys assembled at the school-house, and strolled 
idly about the banks of the brook; but no school-master. 
Hans Van Eipper now began to feel some uneasiness about 
the fate of poor Ichabod, and his saddle. An inquiry was 
set on foot, and after diligent investigation, they came upon 



SKETCH-BOOK 01^' GEOFl^'KEX CUAIUJVJ, UEJJT. jyTKT 

his traces. In one part of the road leading to tlie church, 
was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of 
horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road, and, evidently at 
furious sj)eed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on 
the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran 
deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Icha- 
bod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. 

The brook was searched, but the body of the school-mas- 
ter was not to be discovered. Hans Van Ripper, as 
executor of his estate, examined the bundle which con- 
tained all his worldly effects. They consisted of two shirts 
and a half; two stocks for the neck; a pair or two of 
worsted stockings; an old pair of corduroy small-clothes; 
a rusty razor; a book of psalm tunes full of dog's ears; and 
a broken j^itch-pipe. As to the books and furniture of the 
school-house, they belonged to the community, excepting 
Cotton Mather's " History of AVitchcraft," a New England 
Almanac, and a book of dreams and fortune -telling; in 
which last was a sheet of foolscap much scribbled and 
blotted, by several fruitless attempts to make a copy of 
verses in honor of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic 
books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to 
the flames by Hans Van Ri|)per; who, from that time for- 
ward, determined to send his children no more to school; 
observing that he never knew any good come of this same 
reading and writing. Whatever money the school-master 
possessed, and he had received his quarter's pay but a day 
or two before, he must have had about his person at the 
time of his disaj^pearance. 

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the 
church on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and 
gossips were collected in the church-yard, at the bridge, and 
at the spot where the hat and pumpkin had been found. 
The stories of Brouwer, of Bones, and a whole budget of 
others, were called to mind; and when they had diligently 
considered them all^ and compared them with the symp- 



toms of the present case, they shook their heads^ and came 
to the conchision^ that Ichabod had been carried off by the 
galloping Hessian. As he was a bachelor, and in nobody's 
debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him; the 
school was removed to a diiferent quarter of the Hollow, 
and another pedagogue reigned in his stead. 

It is true, an old farmer, who had been down to New 
York on a visit several years after, and from whom this 
account of the ghostly adventure was received, brought 
home the intelligence that Ichabod Crane was still alive; 
that he had left the neighborhood partly through fear of the 
goblin and Hans Van Eipper, and partly in mortification 
at having been suddenly dismissed by the heiress; that he 
had changed his quarters to a distant part of the country; 
had ke23t school and studied law at the same time; had 
been admitted to the bar; turned politician; electioneered; 
written for the newspapers; and finally, had been made a 
Justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom Bones, too, who, 
shortly after his rival's disappearance, conducted the bloom- 
ing Katrina in triumph to the altar, was observed to look 
exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was 
related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the men- 
tion of the pumpkin; which led some to suspect that he 
knew more about the matter than he chose to tell. 

The old country wives, however, who are the best judges 
of these matters, maintain to this day, that Ichabod was 
spirited away by supernatural means; and it is a favorite 
story often told about the neighborhood round the winter 
evening fire. The bridge became more than ever an ob- 
ject of superstitious awe; and that may be the reason why 
the road has been altered of late years, so as to approach 
the church by the border of the mill-pond. The school- 
house being deserted, soon fell to decay, and was reported 
to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue; 
and the plow-boy, loitering homeward of a still summer 
evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 367 

a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of 
Sleepy Hollow. 



POSTSCRIPT, 

j FOUND IN THE HANDWRITING OF MR. KNICKERBOCKER. 

The preceding tale is given, almost in tlie precise words 
in which I heard it related at a Cor23oration meeting of the 
ancient city of the Manhattoes,* at which were present 
many of its sagest and most illustrious burghers. The 
narrator was a pleasant, shabby, gentlemanly old fellow in 
23epper-and-salt clothes, with a sadly humorous face; and 
one whom I strongly suspected of being poor — ^lie made 
such efforts to be entertaining. When his story was con- 
cluded there was much laughter and approbation, particu- 
larly from two or three deputy aldermen, who had been 
asleep the greater part of the time. There was, however, 
one tall, dry-looking old gentleman, with beetluig eye- 
brows, who maintained a grave and rather severe face 
throughout; now and then folding his arms, inclining his 
head, and looking down upon the floor, as if turning a 
doubt over in his mind. He was one of your wary men, 
who never laugh but ujDon good grounds — when they have 
reason and the law on their side. When the mirth of the 
rest of the company had subsided, and silence was restored, 
he leaned one arm on the elbow of his chair, and sticking 
the other a-kimbo, demanded, with a slight ])ut exceedingly 
sage motion of the head, and contraction of the brow, what 
was the moral of the story, and what it went to prove.' 

The story-teller, who was just putting a glass of wine to 
his lips, as a refreshment after his toils, paused for a mo- 
ment, looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite defer- 

* New York. 



368 WOKKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 

ence^ and lowering the glass slowly to the table^ observed 
that the story was intended most logically to prove : — 

'' That there is no situation in love but has its advantages 
and pleasures — provided we will but take a joke as we find 
it: 

" That^ therefore^ he that runs races with goblin troop- 
ers^ is likely to have rough riding of it: 

'* Ergo^ for a country school-master to be refused the 
hand of a DutOh heiress^ is a certain step to high prefer- 
ment in the state."'' 

The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold closer 
after this explanation, being sorely puzzled by the ratiocina- 
tion of the syllogism; while, methought, the one in pep- 
];)er-and-salt eyed him with something of a triumphant leer. 
At length he observed, that all this was very well, but still 
he thought the story a little on the extravagant — there 
were one or two points on which he had his doubts: 

"■ Faith, sir,"" replied the story teller, '^ as to that mat- 
ter, I don"t believe one half of it myself."" 

D. K. 



VENVOY, 

Go, little booke, God send thee good passage, 
And specially let this be thy prayere, 
Unto them all that thee will read or hear, 
Where thou art wrong, after their help to call, 
Thee to correct, in any part or all. 

Chaucer's Bell Dame sans Mercie. 

In concluding a second volume of the " Sketch Book,"" 
the author can not but express his deep sense of the in- 
dulgence with which his first has been received, and of the 
liberal disposition that has been evinced to treat him with 
kindness as a stranger. Even the critics, whatever may be 
said of them by others, he has found to be a singularly gen- 
tle and good-natured race; it is true that each has in turn 



SKETCH-BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 3G0 

objected to some one or two articles, and that these indi- 
vidual exce2:)tions, taken in the aggregate, would amount 
almost to a total condemnation of his work; but then he 
has been consoled b}^ observing, that what one has j)articu" 
larly censured, another has as particularly praised: and 
thus, the encomiums being set off against the objections, 
he finds his work, upon the whole, commended far beyoinl 
its deserts. 

He is aware that he runs a risk of forfeiting much of 
this kind favor by not following the counsel that has been 
liberally bestowed upon him; for where abundance of 
valuable advice is given gratis, it may seem a man^s own 
fault if he should go astray. He only can say, in his vindi- 
cation, that he faithfully determined, for a time, to govern 
himself in his second volume by the opinions passed upon 
his first; but he was soon brought to a stand by the con- 
trariety of excellent counsel. One kindly advised him to 
avoid the ludicrous; another, to shun the jDathetic; a third 
assured him that he was tolerable at description, but cau- 
tioned him to leave narrative alone; while a fourth declared 
that he had a very pretty knack at turning a story, and 
was really entertaining when in a jDensive mood, but was 
grievously mistaken if he imagined himself to possess a 
spark of humor. 

Thus perplexed by the advice of his friends, who each in 
turn closed some particular path, but left him all the world 
beside to range in, he found that to follow all their coun- 
sels Avould, in fact, be to stand still. He remained for a 
time sadly embarrassed; when, all at once, the thought 
struck him to ramble on as he had begun: that his work 
being miscellaneous, and written for different humors, it 
could not be expected that any one would be j)leased with 
the whole ; but that if it should contain something to suit 
each reader, his end would be completely answered. Few 
guests sit down to a varied table with an equal apjoetite for 
every dish. One has an elegant horror of a roasted pig; 



370 WOEKS OF Wx\SHIKGTON IRVIKG. 

another holds a curry or a devil in utter abomination; a 
third can not tolerate the ancient flavor of venison and wild 
fowl; and a fourth, of truly masculine stomach, looks with 
sovereign contempt on those knickknacks, here and there 
dished up for the ladies. Thus each article is condemned 
in its turn; and yet, amidst this variety of appetites, sel- 
dom does a dish go away from the table without being- 
tasted and relished by some one or other of the guests. 

With these considerations he ventures to serve up this 
second volume in the same heterogeneous way with his first; 
simply requesting the reader, if he should find here and 
there something to please him, to rest assured that it was 
written ex23ressly for intelligent readers like himself; but 
entreating him, should he find anything to dislike, to toler- 
ate it, as one of those articles which the author has been 
obliged to write for readers of a less refined taste. 

To be serious — The author is conscious of the numerous 
faults and imperfections of his work; and well aware how 
little he is disciplined and accomplished in the arts of 
authorship. His deficiencies are also increased by a diffi- 
dence arising from his peculiar situation. He finds him- 
self writing in a strange land, and appearing before a pub- 
lic which he has been accustomed, from childhood, to 
regard with the highest feelings of awe and reverence. He 
is full of solicitude to deserve their approbation^ yet finds 
that very solicitude continually embarrassing his powers, 
and de|)riving him of that ease and confidence which are 
necessary to successful exertion. Still the kindness with 
which he is treated encourages him to go on, hoping that 
in time he may acquire a steadier footing; and thus he pro- 
ceeds, half -venturing, half-shrinking, surprised at his own 
good fortune, and wondering at his own temerity. 

THE ElfD. 



AJJVEKllSfJME^Ty. 




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EVER INVENTED. 

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be without it after testing 
its utility. 

Sold by all first-class 
Grocers, but beware of 
■w^orthless imitations. 



GLUTEN SUPPOSITORIES 

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50 Cents by Mail, Circulars Free. 

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Giving numerous examples of Model Letters upon Love, Friendship, 
Business, and Legal Affairs ; so that the most illiterate may easily learn how 
to compose an effective and correct epistle. Price 10 cents. Address 

GEORGE MUNRO, Munro's Publishing House, 

P. O. Box 3751. 17 to 27 Vandewater Street, N. Y. 



It is a solid, 
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of scouring soap, 
Avliich li as > no 



WHAT IS SAPOLIO? 

eqii.'vl for all cleaninfr purposes except the laundrj'. To use it is to value it. 

What will Sapolio do? Why, it will clean paint, make oil-cloths bright, and 
{:' >e the floors, tables and shelves a new appearance. 

J; will take the g:rease off the dishes and off the pots and pans. 

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BEWARE OF IMITATIONS. 



MUNRO'S PUBLICATIONS. 



THE SEASIDE LIBRARY 

:E=>ools:et Ed-itiorL- 

The following books are for sale by all newsdealers, or will be sent to any 
address, postage free, by the publisher, on receipt of price. Parties 
wishing the Pocket Edition of The Seaside Library must be careful to 
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Newsdealers wishing catalogues of The Seaside Library, Pocket Edition, 
bearing their imprint, will be supplied on sending their names, addresses, and 
number required. Address 

GEORGE MUNRO, Munro's Publishing House, 
P. O. Box 3751. 17 to 27 Vandewater Street, N. Y. 



LIST OF AUTHORS. 



Works by tlie author of •' Addie's 
Husband." 

388 Addie's Husband ; or, Through 

Clouds to Sunshine 10 

504 My Poor Wife 10 

Works by tJie author of " A Great 
Mistake." 

244 A Great Mistake 20 

246 A Fatal Dower... 10 

372 Phyllis' Probation 10 

461 His Wedded Wife 20 

588 Cherry 10 

Mrs. Alexander's Works. 

5 The Admiral's Ward 20 

17 The Wooing O't 20 

62 The Executor 20 

189 Valerie's Fate 10 

229 Maid. Wife, or Widow? 10 

2.36 Which Shall it Be? 20 

339 Mrs. Vereker's Courier Maid. . . 10 

490 A Second Life 20 

564 At Bay... 10 

Alison's Works. 

194 " So Near, and Yet So Far !" . . . 10 

378 For Life and Love 10 

481 The House That Jack Built. ... 10 

F. Anstey's Works. 

59 Vice Versa 20 

325 The Giant's Robe 20 

503 The Tinted Venus. A Farcical 
Romance 10 

R. M. Ballantyne's Works. 

89 The Red Eric. 10 

95 The Fire Brigade 10 

96 Erling the Bold 10 

Anne Beale's Works. 

188 Idonea , 20 

i99 The Fisher Village . , 10 



Basil's Works, 

344 " The Wearing of the Green " . . 20 

547 A Coquette's Conquest 20 

585 A Drawn Game 20 

M. Bethani-Ed wards' s Works. 

273 Love and Mirage; or. The Wait- 
ing on an Island 10 

579 The Flower of Doom, and Other 
Stories 10 

594 Doctor Jacob 20 

Walter Besant's Works. 

97 All in a Garden Fair 20 

137 Uncle Jack , 10 

140 A Glorious Fortune 10 

146 Love Finds the Way, and Other 

Stories. By Besant and Rice 10 

230 Dorothy Forster 20 

324 In Luck at Last 10 

William Black's Works. 

1 Yolande 20 

18 Shandon Bells 20 

21 Sunrise : A Story of These 

Times 20 

23 A Princess of Thule 20 

39 In Silk Attire *20 

44 Macleod of Dare 20 

49 That Beautiful Wretch 20 

50 The Strange Adventures of a 

Phaeton 20 

70 White Wings : A Yachting Ro- 
mance 10 

78 Madcap Violet 20 

81 A Daughter of Heth 20 

124 Three Feathers 20 

125 The Monarch of Mincing Lane. 20 

126 Kilmeny 20 

138 Green Pastui'es and Piccadilly. 20 
265 Judith Shakespeare : Her Love 

Affairs and Other Adventures 20 
472 The Wise Women of Inverness. 10 
627 White Heather = 20 



THE SEASIDE TABU AUT.— Pocket Edition. 



R. D. Ulaukmoie's Works. 

67 Lorna Doone. 1st half 20 

67 Lorua Doone. 2d half 20 

427 The Remarkable History of Sir 

Thomas Upniore, Bart., M. P. 20 

Miss m. E. Bvaildon's Works. 

35 Ladj' Audleys Secret 20 

56 Phautom Fortune 20 

74 Aurora Floyd 20 

1 1 Uuder the Red Flag 10 

i53 The Golden Calf 20 

204 Vixen 20 

211 The Octoroon 10 

234 Barbara ; or, Splendid Misery. . -'0 

263 An Ishmaelite 20 

315 The Mistletoe Bough. Edited 

by Miss Braddon 20 

434 Wyllard-s AVeird 20 

478 Diavola; or, Nobody's Daugh- 
ter. Parti 20 

478 Diavola; or, Nobody's Daugh- 
ter. Part II 20 

480 Married in Haste. Edited by 

Miss M. E. Braddon 20 

487 Put to the Test. Edited by Miss 

M. K. Braddon 20 

488 Joshua Haggard's Daughter.. . . 20 

489 Rupert Godwin 20 

495 Mount Royal 20 

496 Only a Woman. Edited by Miss 

M. E. Braddon , 20 

497 The Lady's Mile 20 

498 Only a Clod 20 

499 The Cloven Foot 20 

511 A Strange World 20 

515 Sir Jasper's Tenant 20 

524 Strangers and Pilgrims 20 

529 The Doctor's Wife 20 

542 Fenton's Quest 20 

544 Cut by the County: or, Grace 

Darnel 10 

548 The Fatal Marriage, and The 

Shadow in the Corner 10 

549 Dudley Carleon; or, The Broth- 

er's Secret, and George Caul- 
field's Journey 10 

55-2 Hostages to Fortune 20 

.'i.>3 Birds of Prey 20 

.").") 1 Charlotte's Inheritance. (Se- 
quel to " Birds of Prey ").... 20 

557 To the Bitter End 20 

559 Taken at the Flood 20 

5G0 Asphodel 20 

561 Just as I am; or, A Living Lie 20 

567 Dead Men's Shoes. 20 

570 John Marchmont's Legacy, ... 20 

Works by Charlotte M. Braeme, 
Author of " Dora Thornej'» 

19 Her Mother's Sin 10 

51 Dora Thorne 20 

54 A Broken Wedding-Ring 20 

68 A Queen Amongst Women 10 

69 Madolin's Lover 20 

73 Redeemed by Love 20 

76 Wife in Name Only 20 

79 Wedded and Parted 10 

12 Lord Lyune's Choice iO 1 



148 Thorns and Orange-BIossoms.. 10 

UK) Romance of a Black Veil 10 

220 Which Loved Him Best? 10 

237 Repented at Leisure 20 

249 •• Prince Charlie's Daughter " . . 10 

250 Sunshine and Roses; or, Di- 

ana's Discipline 10 

254 The Wife's Secret, and Fair 

but False 10 

283 The Sin of a Lifetime 10 

287 At War With Herself 10 

288 From Gloom to Sunlight 10 

291 Love's Warfare 10 

292 A Golden Heart 10 

293 The Shadow of a Sin 10 

294 Hilda 10 

295 A Woman's War 10 

296 A Rose in Thorns 10 

297 Hilary's Follv 10 

299 The Fatal Lilies, and A Bride 

from the Sea 10 

300 A Gilded Sin, and A Bridge of 

Love 10 

303 Ingledew House, and More Bit- 

ter than Death 10 

304 In Cupid's Net 10 

305 A Dead Heart, and Lady Gwen- 

doline's Dream 10 

306 A Golden Dawn, and Love for 

a Day 10 

307 Two Kisses, and Like no Other 

Love 10 

308 Beyond Pardon 20 

411 A Bitter Atonement 20 

433 My Sister Kate 1(1 

459 A Woman's Temptation 2^ 

460 Under a Shadow 20 

465 The Earl's Atonement 20 

466 Between Two Loves 20 

467 A Struggle for a Ring 20 

469 Lady Darner's Secret 20 

470 Eveiyn's Follv 20 

471 Thrown on the World 2G 

476 lietween Two Sins 10 

516 Put Asunder; or. Lady Castle- 

maine's Divorce 2C 

576 Her Martyrdom . 20 

Charlotte Bronte's Works. 

15 Jane Eyre 20 

57 Shirley 20 

Rhoda Bronghton's Works. 

86 Belinda 20 

101 Second Thoughts 20 

227 Nancy 20 

Robert Buchanan's Works. 

145 " Storm- Beaten :" God and The 

Man 20 

154 Annan Water 20 

181 The New Abelard 10 

398 Matt: A Tale of a Caravan. ... 10 

Captain Fred Burnaby's Works. 

375 A Ride to Khiva 20 

384 On Horseback Through Asia 
Minor ^ 



TBB SEASIDE LIBRARY.— Pocket Edition. 



E. Fairfax Byrrne's Works. 

521 Entangled 20 

538 A Fair Country Maid 20 

Hall Caiiie'g Works. 

445 Thtt Shadow of a Crime 20 

520 She's All the World to Me 10 

Rosa Noiicliette Carey's Works. 

215 Not Like Other Girls 20 

396 Robert Ord's Atonement 20 

551 Barbara Heathcote's Trial 20 

608 ForLilias • 20 

Wilkie Collins's Works. 

52 The New Magdalen 10 

102 The Moonstone iiO 

167 Heart and Science 20 

168 No Thoroughfare. By Dickens 

and Collins 10 

175 Love's Random Shot 10 

233 " I Say No;" or, The Love-Let- 
ter Answered 20 

508 The Girl at the Gate 10 

591 The Queen of Hearts 20 

613 The Ghost's Touch, and Percy 

and the Prophet. 10 

623 My Lady 's Money . .^ 10 

Hugli Conway's Works. 

240 Called Back 10 

251 The Daui:liter of the Stars, and 

Other Tales 10 

301 Dark Days 10 

302 The Blatchford Bequest 10 

502 Carriston's Gift 10 

525 Paul Vargas, and Other Stories 10 

543 A Family Affair 20 

601 Slings and Arrows, and Other 

Stories 10 

J. Fenimore Cooper's Works. 

60 The Last of the Mohicans 20 

63 The Spy 20 

309 The Pathfinder 20 

310 The Prairie 20 

318 The Pioneers; or, The Sources 

of the Susquehanna 20 

349 The Two Admirals 20 

359 The Water-Witch 20 

361 The Red Rover 20 

373 Wing and Wing 20 

378 Homeward Bound; or. The 

Chase 20 

379 Home as Found. (Sequel to 

" Homeward Bound") 20 

380 Wyandotte ; or. The Hutted 

Knoll 20 

385 The Headsman; or, The Ab- 

baye des Vignerons 20 

394 The Bravo , 20 

397 Lionel Lincoln; or. The Leag- 

uer of Boston 20 

400 The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish. . . 20 

413 Afloat and Ashore 20 

414 Miles Wallingford. (Sequel to 

" Afloat and Ashore ") 20 

415 The Ways of the Hour 20 

416 Jack Tier ; or, The Florida Reef 20 



419 The Chainbearer ; or,The Little- 

page Manuscripts 20 

420 Satansroe; or. The Littlepage 

Manuscripts ^ 20 

421 The Redskins; oi\ Indian and 

Injin. Being the conclusion 
of the Littlepage Manuscripts 20 

422 Precaution 20 

423 The Sea Lions; or. The Lost 

Sealers 20 

424 Mercedes of Castile; or. The 

Voyage to Cathay 20 

425 The Oak-Openings ; or, The Bee- 

Hunter 20 

431 The Mouikins 20 

Georgfiana M. Craik's Works. 

450 Godfrey Helstone 20 

606 Mrs. Hollyer 20 

B. M.. Croker's Works. 

207 Pretty Miss Neville 20 

260 Proper Pride 10 

412 Some One Else 20 

Alplionse Baiidet's Works. 

534 Jack 20 

574 The Nabob: AStory of Parisian 

Life and Manners -^0 

Cliarles Dickens's Works. 

10 The Old Curiosity Shop 20 

22 David Copperfield. Vol. 1 20 

22 David Copperfield. Vol. H.;.. 20 

24 Pickwick Papers. Vol. 1 20 

24 Pickwick Papers. Vol. H 20 

37 Nicholas Nickleby. First half. 20 
37 Nicholas Nickleby. Second half 20 

41 Oliver Twist 20 

77 A Tale of Two Cities 20 

84 Hard Times 10 

91 Baruaby Rudge. 1st half 20 

91 Baruaby Rudge. 2d half 20 

94 Little Doi-rit. First half 20 

!)4 Little Dorrit. Second half 20 

106 Bleak House. First half 2C 

106 Bleak House. Second half.... 20 

107 Dombey and Son. 1st half 20 

107 Dombey and Son. 2d half 20 

108 The Cricket on the Hearth, and 

Doctor Marigold 10 

131 Our Mutual Friend 4C 

132 Master Humphrey's Clock 10 

152 The Uncommercial Traveler. . . 20 

168 No Thoroughfare. By Dickens 

and Collins 10 

169 The Haunted Man 10 

437 Life and Adventures of Martin 

Chuzzlewit. First half 20 

437 Life and Adventures of Martin 

Chuzzlewit. Second half 20 

439 Great Expectations 20 

440 Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings 10 

447 American Notes 20 

443 Pictures From Italy, and The 

Mudfog Papers, &c. '^0 

454 The Mysterv of Edwin Drood. . 20 
456 Sketches by Boz. Illustrative 
of Every-day Life and Every- 
day People 20 



TEE SEASIDE LIBRARY.— Pocket Edition. 



F. Dii Boisgobcy's Works. 

83 Sealed Lips 20 

104 The Coral Pin 30 

264 Pi6douehe, a French Detective. 10 
328 Babiole, the Prett3' Milliner. 

First half 20 

328 Babiole. the Pretty Milliner. 

Second half 20 

453 The Lottery Ticket 20 

475 The Prima Donna's Husband.. 20 

522 Zig-Zag, the Clown; or, Steel 

Gauntlets 20 

523 The Consequences of a Duel. A 

Parisian Romance 20 

•♦The Duchess's" Works. 

2 Molly Bawn 20 

6 Portia 20 

14 Airy Fairy Lilian 10 

16 Phyllis..... 20 

25 Mrs. Geofifrey 20 

29 Beauty's Daughters 10 

30 Faith and Uufaith 20 

>18 Loys, Lord Berresford, and 

Eric Dering 10 

119 Monica, and A Rose Distill'd. .. 10 

123 Sweet is True Love 10 

129 Rossmoyne 10 

134 Tlie Witching Hour, and Other 

Stories 10 

136 "That Last Rehearsal," and 

Other Stories 10 

If)6 Moonshine and Marguerites 10 

171 Fortune's Wheel 10 

284 Doris 10 

312 A Week in Killarney 10 

342 The Baby, and One New Year's 

Eve 10 

390 Mildred Trevanion 10 

404 In Durance Vile, and Other 

Stories 10 

486 Dick's Sweetheart 20 

494 A Maiden All Forlorn, and Bar- 
bara 10 

517 A Passive Crime, and Other 

Stories 10 

541 " As It Fell Upon a Day." 10 

Alexauder Duinas's Woi'ks, 

55 The Three Guardsmen 20 

75 Twenty Years After 20 

259 The Bride of Monte-Cristo. A 
Sequel to "The Count of 

Monte-Cristo " 10 

262 The Count of ]\Ionte-Cristo. 

Parti 20 

262 The Count of Monte-Cristo. 

Part II 20 

Georse Eliot's Works. 

3 The Mill on the Floss 20 

36 Adam Bede 20 

31 Middlemarch. 1st half 20 

31 Middlemarch. 2d half 20 

34 Daniel Derouda. 1st half 20 

34 Daniel Deronda, 2d half 20 

42 Romola , 20 



B. Li. Farjeoii's Works. 

179 Little Malce-Believe IC 

573 Love's Harvest , 20 

607 Self-Doomed 10 

G16 The Sacred Nugget 20 

G, Manville Fenn's "Works, 

103 The Roserv Folk IC 

5.58 Povertv Corner 20 

587 The Parson o' Dumford 20 

609 The Dark House 10 

Octave Fe nil let's Works. 

66 The Romance of a Poor Young 

Man 10 

386 Led Astray ; or, " La Petite 

Comtesse " 10 

illrs. Forrester's W^orks. 

80 June 20 

280 Omnia Vauitas. A Tale of So- 
ciety 10 

484 Although He Was a Lord, and 

Other Tales 10 

Jessie Fothergill's Works. 

314 Peril... 20 

572 Healey , , 20 

R. E. Fraucillou's Works. 

135 A Great Heiress: A Fortune 

in Seven Checks 10 

319 Face to Face : A Fact in Seven 

Fables 10 

360 Ropes of Sand 20 

Einile Gaborian's W^orks. 

7 File No. 113 20 

12 Other People's Monev 20 

20 Within an Inch of His Life. ... 20 

26 Monsieur Lecoq. Vol 1 20 

26 Monsieur Lecoq. Vol. II 20 

33 The Clique of Gold 10 

38 The Widow Leronge 20 

43 The Mystery of Orcival 20 

144 Promises of Marriage 10 

Charles Gibbon's Works. 

64 A Maiden Fair 10 

317 By Mead and Stream 20 

Miss Grant's Works. 

222 Tlie Sun-]Maid « . 20 

555 Cara Roma 20 

Thomas Hardy's Works. 

139 The Romantic Adventures of 

a Milkmaid 10 

530 A Pair of Blue Eyes 20 

John B. Har wood's Works. 

143 One False, Both Fair 20 

358 Within the Clasp *0 



THE SEASIDE LIBRARY. —Pocket Edition. 



Mary Cecil Hay's Works. 

65 Back to tlie Old Home 10 

72 Old Myddelton's Money........ 20 

196 Hidden Perils 10 

197 For Her Dear Sake 20 

224 The Arundel Motto 10 

281 The Squire's Legacy 20 

290 Nora's Love Test 20 

408 Lester's Secret 20 

Works by tlie Author of "Judith 
Wynne." 

332 Judith Wynne 20 

506 Lady Lovelace 20 

William H. G, Kingston's Works. 

117 A Tale of the Shore and Ocean. 20 
133 Peter the Whaler 10 

Charles licver's Works. 

191 Harry Lorrequer 20 

S12 Charles O'Malley. the Irish Dra- 
goon. First half 20 

SI 2 Charles O'Malley, the Irish Dra- 
goon. Second half 20 

243 Tom Burke of "Ours." First 

half 20 

243 Tom Burke of " Ours." Sec- 
ond half. 20 

Sir E. Bulwer liytton's Works. 

40 The Last Days of Pompeii 20 

83 A Strange Story 20 

90 Ernest Maltravers 20 

130 The Last of the Barons. First 

half 20 

130 The Last of the Barons. Sec- 
ond half 20 

162 Eugene Aram 20 

164 Leila ; or, The Siege of Grenada 10 

George Macdonald's Works. 

282 Donal Grant 20 

325 The Portent 10 

326 Phantastes. A Faerie Romance 

for Men and Women 10 

Florence Marryat's Works, 

159 A Moment of Madness, and 

Other Stories 10 

183 Old Contrairy, and Other 

Stories 10 

208 The Ghost of Charlotte Cray, 

and Other Stories , 10 

276 Under the Lilies and Poses 10 

444 The Heart of Jane Warner 20 

449 Peeress and Player 20 

Captain Marryat's Works. 

88 The Privateersman 20 

272 The Little Savage 10 

Helen B, Mathers' s Works. 

13 Eyre's Acquittal 10 

221 Comin' Thro' the Rye 20 

438 Found Out 10 



Justin McCarthy's Works. 

121 Maid of AMieus 20 

602 Camiola 20 

Mrs, Alex. McVeigh Miller's 
Works. 

267 Laurel Vane; or, The Girls' 

Conspiracy 20 

268 Lady Gay's Pride; or, The 

Miser's Treasure 20 

269 Lancaster's Choice 20 

316 Sworn to Silence; or, Aline 

Rodney's Secret i-'O 

Jean Middlemas's Works. 

155 Lady Muriel's Secret 20 

539 Silvermead ^0 

Alan Muir's Works. 

172 " Golden Girls " 20 

346 Tumbledown Farm 10 

Miss Mulock's Woi'ks. 

11 John Hahfax, Gentleman 20 

245 Miss Tommy 10 

David Christie Murray's Works. 

58 By the Gate of the Sea 10 

195 "The Way of the Woi-ld "• 20 

320 A Bit of Human Nature 10 

Works by the author of " My 
Ducats and My Daughter." 

376 The Crime of Christmas Day. 10 
596 My Ducats and My Daughter. .. 20 

"W, E. Morris's Works. 

184 Thirlby Hall 20 

277 A Man of His Word 10 

355 That Terrible Man 10 

500 Adrian Vidal 20 

Laurence Oliphant's Works. 

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345 Madam 20 

351 The House on the Moor. 20 

357 John 20 

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371 Margaret Maitland 20 

377 Magdalen Hepburn : A Story of 

the Scottish Kef onnation.... 30 



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402 Lilliesleaf ; or. Passages in the 
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527 The Da^ s of My Life 'ZO 

528 At His Gates 20 

568 'i'he Perpetual Curate 20 

569 Harry Muir 20 

603 Agnes. 1st half 20 

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239 Signa 20 

433 A Rainy June 10 

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214 Put Yourself in His Place 20 

216 Fonl Play 20 

231 Griffith Gaunt; or, Jealousy... 20 

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235 "It is Never Too Late to 
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593 l^erna Boyle 20 

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261 A Fair Maid 20 

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590 Tlie Courting of Mary Smith. . . 20 

W. Clark Russell's Works. 

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209 John Holdsworth. Chief Mate.. 10 

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202 The Abbot. (Sequel to "The 

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353 The Black Dwaif, and A Le- 
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362 The Bride of Lammermoor.. .. 20 

363 The Surgeon's Daughter 10 

364 Castle Dangerous 10 

391 The Heart of Mid-Lothian 20 

392 Peveril of tlie Peak 20 

.393 The Pirate 2C 

401 Waverlev 2" 

417 The Fair Maid of Perth; or, St. 

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418 St. Ronau's Well 2ft 

463 Redgauntlet. A Tale of the 

Eighteenth Century 20 

507 Clu-onicles of the Canongate, 

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William Sime's Works. 

429 Boulderstone; or. New Men and 

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580 The Red Route 20 

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348 From Post to Finish, A Racing 

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367 Tie and Trick 20 

550 Struck Down 10 

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333 Frank Fairlegh ; or, Scenes 
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'270 The Wandering- Jew. Parti... 20 

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1G5 The Histoiy of Heury Esmond. 20 

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298 Mitchelhurst Place 10 

586 " For Percival " 20 

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540 At a High Price 20 

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508 Tiie Unholy Wish 10 

513 Helen W'liituey's Wedding, and 

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610 The Story of Dorothy Grape. 

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275 The Three Brides 10 

535 Henrietta's Wish. ATale 10 

563 The Two Sides of the Shield.. . . 20 

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99 Barbara's Histoiy. Amelia B. 

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103 Rose Fleming. Dora Russell . . 10 
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111 The Little School-master Mark. 

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112 The Waters of Marah. John 

Hill 20 

113 Mrs. Carr's Companion. M. G. 

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114 Some of Our Girls. Mrs. C. J. 

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115 Diamond Cut Diamond. T. 

Adolphus Trollope 10 

120 Tom Brown's School Days at 

Rugby. Thomas Hughes 20 

122 lone Stewart. Mrs. E. Lynn 

Linton 20 

127 Adrian Bright. Mrs. Caddy .... 20 

149 The Captain's Daughter. From 

the Russian of Pushkin 10 

150 For Himself Alone. T. W. 

Speight , ■ 10 

151 The Ducie Diamonds. C. Blath- 

erwick 10 

156 "For a Dream's Sake." Mrs. 

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158 The Starling. Norman Mac- 

leod, D.D 10 

160 Her Gentle Deeds. Sarah Tyt- 

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161 The Lady of Lvous. Founded 

on the Play of that title by 
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163 Winifred Power. Joyce Dar- 

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170 A Great Treason. Mary Hop- 
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174 Under a Ban. Mrs. Lodge 20 

176 An April Day. Philippa Prit- 

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178 More Leaves from the Journal 
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182 The Millionaire 20 

185 Dita. Lady Margaret Majeudie 10 



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Misceiraneous— Continued. 

187 The Midnight Sua. Fredrika 

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198 A Husband's Story 10 

203 John Bull and His Island. Max 

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218 Agnes Sorel. G. P. R. James. . 20 

219 Lady Clare : or. The Master of 

the Forges. From French of 

Georges Olmet 10 

2-12 The Two Orphans. D'Ennery. 10 
253 The Amazon. Uarl Vosmaer. . 10 
J57 Beyond Recall. Adeline Ser- 
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2GG The Water-Babies. Rev. Chas. 

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274 Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, 
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279 Little Goldie : A Story of Wom- 
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285 The Gambler's Wife 20 

289 John Bull's Neighbor in Her 
True Light. A '• Brutal Sax- 
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311 Two Years Before the Mast. R. 

H. Dana, Jr 20 

313 The Lovers Creed. Mrs. Cash- 
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322 A Woman's Love-Story 10 

323 A "Willful Maid 20 

329 The Polish Jew. (Translated 

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330 May Blossom; or, Between Two 

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334 A Marriage of Convenience. 

Harriett Jay 10 

335 The White "Witch 20 

338 The Family Difficulty. Sarah 

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340 Under Which King? Conipton 

Reade 20 

341 Madolin Rivers; or, The Little 

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Laura Jean Libbey '. . 20 

i7 As Avon Flows. Henry Scott 

Vince 20 

..50 Diana of the Crossways. George 

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352 At Any Cost Edward Garrett. 10 

354 The Lottery of Life. A Story 

of New "^ork Twenty Years 
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355 The Princess Dagomar of Po- 

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356 A Good Hater. Frederick Boyle 20 
365 George Ctuisty ; or. The For- 
tunes of a Minstrel. Tony 

' .Pastor 20 

360 The Mysterious Hunter; or. 
The Man of Death. Capt. L. 

U. Caileton 20 

369 Miss Bretherton. Mrs. Hum- 
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374 The Dead Plan's Secret. Dr. 

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381 The Red Cardinal. Frances 

Elliot 10 

382 Three Sisters. Elsa D'Esterre- 

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383 Introduced to Society. Hamil- 

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387 The Secret of the Cliffs. Char- 
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389 Ichabod. A Portrait. Bertha 

Thomas 10 

399 Miss Brown. Vernon Lee 20 

403 An English Squire. C. R. Cole- 
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405 My Friends and I. Edited by 

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406 The Merchant's Clerk, Samuel 

"W^arren 10 

407 Tylney Hall. Thomas Hood. . . 20 
42G "Veuus's Doves. Ida Ashwoith 

Tavlor 20 

430 A Bitter Reckoning. Author 

of "By Crooked Paths".... 10 
432 The "Witch's Head. H. Rider 

Haggard 20 

435 Klytia: A Story of Heidelberg 

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-136 Stella. Fanny Lewald 20 

441 A Sea Change. Flora L. Shaw. 20 

442 Ranthorpe. George Henry 

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443 The Bachelor of the Albany... 10 
452 In the "West Couutrie. May 

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457 The Russians at the Gates of 

Herat. Charles Marvin 10 

458 A 'VS'^eek of Passion; or, The 

Dilemma of Mr. George Bar- 
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462 Alice's Adventures in "Wonder- 
land. Lewis Carrol 

"W^ith forty-two illustrations 
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468 The Fortunes, Good and Bad, 
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473 A Lost Son. Mary Linskill.... 10 

474 Serapis. An Historical Novel. 

George Ebers 20 

479 Louisa. Katharine S. Macquoid 20 

483 Betwixt My Love and Me 10 

485 Tinted Vapours. J. Maclaren 

Cobban 10 

491 Society in London. A Foreign 

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493 Colonel Enderby's Wife. Lucas 

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501 Mr. Butler's Ward. F. Mabel 

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510 AMadLove. Author of " Lover 

and Lord" 10 

512 The Waters of Hercules 20 

504 Curly: An Actor's Story. John 

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505 The Society of London. Count 

Paul Vasili 10 

509 Nell Haffendeu. Tighe Hopkins ^ 



TEE SEASIDE LIBRARY.— Pocket Edition. 



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518 The Hidden Sin 20 

519 James Gordon's Wife 20 

526 Madame De Presnel. E. Fran- 
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532 Arden Court. Barbara Graham 20 
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545 Vida's Story. By the author of 

" Guilty Without Crime ". . . . 10 

546 Mrs. Keith's Crime. A Novel . . 10 
583 Hazel Kirke. Marie Walsh. .. . 20 
566 The Royal Highlanders ; or, 

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James Grant 20 

571 Paul Crew's Story. Alice Co- 

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599 Lancelot Ward, M.P. George 

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234 Barbara; or, Splen. 

did Misery 20 

263 An Ishmaeiite 20 

315The Mistletoe 

Kongh. Edited by 

Miss Braddon 20 

434 Wy Hard's Weird.. 20 
478 Diavola; or, No- 

body's Daughter. 

Part 1 20 

478 Diiivola; or. No. 

body's Daughter. 

Part II 20 

480 .Harried in Haste. 

Edited by Miss M. 

E. Braddon 20 

487 Pnt to the Test. 

Edited by Miss M. 
E. Braddon 20 

488 Joshua Haggard's 

Daughter 20 

489 Rupert Godwin. ... 20 

495 Mount Royal 30 

496 Only a Woman. 

Edited by Miss M. 

E. Braddon 20 

Any of th.» above works will be sent by mail, postpaid, 
on receipt of the price. Address 

GEORGE MUNRO, Mnnro's Publishing House, 
P. 0. Box 3751. 17 to 27 Vandewater St., N. Y. 



497 The Lady's Mile... 20 

498 Only a Clod 20 

499 The Cloven Foot... 20 
511 A Stniiige World.. 20 
515 Sir Jasper's Tenant 20 
524 Strangers and Pil- 

Krims 20 

529 The DoMor's Wife. 20 

542 Venton's Quest 20 

544 Cut by the County; 

or, Grace Darnel . 10 

548 The Fatal Marriage, 

and The Shadow 
in the Corner. ... 10 

549 Dudley Carleon ; or, 

The Brother's Se- 
cret, and George 
Caulfield's Jour- 
ney 10 

552 Hostages toFortnne 20 

553 Birds of Prey 20 

554 Charlotte's Iiili«r- 

itance. (Sequel to 
"Birds of Prey.") 20 
557 To the Bitter End. 20 

559 Taken at the Flood 20 

560 Asphodel 20 

561 Just as I am; or, A 

Living Lie 20 

567 Dead Men's Shoes. . 20 
570 John Marchmont's 

Legacy 20 



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